ATLANTIC CITY — Contestants for the upcoming Annual Miss America Competition return to Atlantic City this week — and this year New Jersey's entrant is hoping to keep the title in the town where she was born.

The preliminary rounds of the competition start on Sept. 6, with the finals airing on ABC on Sunday, Sept. 10. The day before the finals will be the annual Show Us Your Shoes Parade, which is one of the things Miss New Jersey Kaitlyn Schoeffel said she is most excited for.

"Aside from meeting all the girls and actually competing, I’m really excited to be in the show us your shoes parade, just because since I was a little girl I’ve been going to this parade and I have always always wanted to be a contestant in the Miss America Pageant and a girl riding in the parade," she said.

Schoeffel, 24, was born in Atlantic City, and would be the first Miss New Jersey contestant to win the crown since Bette Cooper in 1937. The last Miss New Jersey to wear the top crown was Suzette Charles who finished Vanessa Williams' term after she resigned in 1984.

The annual competition includes women from all 50 states and the District of Columbia with each one promoting causes that are important to them. The causes being championed this year include supporting the military, bringing communities together, and various medical conditions.

A welcoming ceremony was scheduled for Wednesday.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or

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