ATLANTIC CITY — After eight years of dallying in Las Vegas, the Miss America pageant will be back in September where it started, in Atlantic City. It’s a big deal for the seaside resort. Founded in 1921 and on the boardwalk for 84 years, the contest left for Vegas in 2006. Although the move managed to lower the median age of television viewers from 58 to 37 — a fact that returned the broadcast to prime time on ABC — the contest’s family appeal was a bit of a disconnect with the Vegas scene.
“The prodigal daughter is back,” said Vicki Gold Levi, cofounder of Atlantic City’s Historical Museum and a pageant judge in 1998. Her affection for Miss America began when she was a 5-year-old page to the 1945 queen, Bess Myerson. “She was the first Jewish Miss America and I was the only Jewish page,” Levi said. “People are thrilled that it’s back, especially the parade. Miss America is deeply imbedded into the cultural history of Atlantic City.”