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There they are: 52 Miss America contestants in Atlantic City

Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell sings the National Anthem during Miss America Pageant arrival ceremonies Tuesday in Atlantic City. (Mel Evans / Associated Press)
Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell sings the National Anthem during Miss America Pageant arrival ceremonies Tuesday in Atlantic City. (Mel Evans / Associated Press)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – There they are: the 52 Miss America contestants, on the Atlantic City Boardwalk – and not a moment too soon for a city that could use a happy diversion.

The hopefuls were welcomed to the seaside resort Tuesday to launch two weeks that will culminate in the crowning of the 2017 Miss America on Sept. 11.

They arrived as Atlantic City faces yet another imminent casino closing – the Trump Taj Mahal is to shut down Oct. 10 – as well as a threatened state takeover of its finances and decision-making power.

The city is bracing for the possibility voters will choose to authorize two new casinos in a November referendum that officials fear will cause more of the city’s eight casinos to go out of business.

“Miss America is just what this city needs right now,” said Mayor Don Guardian. “We may be struggling financially, but we know where we want to go. You certainly want to put your best foot forward, and this brings people to Atlantic City to have fun and enjoy what we have to offer.”


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