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Return Of Miss America Pageant To A.C. Sparks Concerns Among Local Fans

Parade Costs And Scheduling Conflicts Top The List
Trump Taj Mahal and other casino hotels in Atlantic City, New Jersey (file/credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump Taj Mahal and other casino hotels in Atlantic City, New Jersey (file/credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — The return of the Miss America pageant to Atlantic City this fall is raising a few concerns among local fans of the event.

One has to do with the cost to enter a float in the pageant parade. It cost $200 in the last parade held in Atlantic City in 2004. This time around it will cost at least $2,000 for a group to build its own float, and as much as $8,000 for professional float designers to build it.

Some local groups and businesses that have entered floats in the past tell The Press of Atlantic City they won’t attend this year.

“When they couldn’t get anybody else to do floats, the everyday businesses and groups like ours supported them, and now they’re giving us a slap in the face,” said Vince McGrath, a part-time Philadelphia resident who has entered a float with sponsors from Florida.  “A couple of years I paid for everything just to get the float and bring out the people to ride on it. Everybody clapped for everybody no matter if you were gay, straight, whatever you were. That’s why I came back every single year. Not this time.”

Sharon Pearce, interim president of the Miss America Organization, told the newspaper the organization is taking a different approach and raising the level of entertainment.

“The floats will be very elaborate and created with specialized themes,” she said. “Each will be tailored to the participating organizations and corporate partners.”

Some in South Jersey’s Jewish community are concerned that the parade conflicts with the Yom Kippur holiday, which begins on Friday, Sept. 13 at sundown and ends at sundown on Saturday.

Pearce told The Press the conflict was an unavoidable scheduling issue and that the organization moved the competition back to Sunday instead of Saturday to avoid having it conflict with the holiday.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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