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Atlantic City Readying For This Year's Triumphant Return of Miss America Pageant

By Mike Dougherty

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) -- After a seven-year hiatus, the Miss America Pageant is returning to its original home, Atlantic City.

Many in Atlantic City were crushed when the pageant moved to Las Vegas, but now it's back.  And the reigning Miss America, Mallory Hagan, says Atlantic City is where it belongs.

"In Las Vegas, we had a lot of fun, and that was a move that needed to happen," she said today.  "It was kind of like, you don't realize what you have till it's gone."

Does she think it perhaps got a little bit lost in the shuffle out in Vegas, with all of the other things going on there?

"I definitely think so.  There's a lot of things going on in Vegas all at once.  Although we do have incredible shows happening in Atlantic City, they're not all happening on the same night," she tells KYW Newsradio.

Atlantic City mayor Lorenzo Langford says the pageant will be good for businesses in Atlantic City, as hundreds of thousands of people visit to get their Miss America fix.

"It gives us a chance to show off what the city has to offer, so it's a match made in heaven," he says.

There will be a number of pre-pageant events including the traditional "Show Us Your Shoes" parade in which contestants show off their personalized kicks.

Several exhibits that tell the stories of past Miss America winners are open year 'round.

They include a walking tour and window-front exhibits of pageant history, replicas of Miss America memorabilia such as crowns, gowns, sashes and scepters; a video booth to record your own pageant memories, and places to pose for Miss America-related photos.

Still to come is a Miss America attraction on the Boardwalk.

And memorabilia, including the dress that Mallory Hagan wore when she was crowned, is currently on display at the Sheraton Hotel.  This year's pageant is September 15th.

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