Safety will be paramount as Atlantic City prepares to host the 93rd annual Miss America Pageant.

AC Tourism District Commander Tom Gilbert (Photo by Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media)
AC Tourism District Commander Tom Gilbert (Photo by Ilya Hemlin, Townsquare Media)

The pageant was created in the 1920's as a way to drive tourism past Labor Day, and officials hope it will do the same once again.

Fifty-three contestants from each state, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, will begin arriving to AC next week. That kicks off two weeks of pageant festivities and unofficially launches AC's fall tourism season.

Tourism District, ACPD, and tourism officials took to the boardwalk on Tuesday to announce their plans for keeping safe the roughly 200,000 visitors that will come the weekend of September 14th for the televised final round of judging and next day's parade.

Atlantic City Tourism District Commander Tom Gilbert noted they aren't "starting from scratch," but are utilizing the partnerships they've build from past major events, such as the Atlantic City Air Show, concerts at Bader Field, and others.

"There are many layers of eyes and ears here in the city right now. We have a lot eyes and ears in the city right now, places you might not think they would be and places where they would need to be."

The Atlantic City Police Department will also be stepping up security, enlisting help from state and county police forces and putting more boots on the ground.

"We anticipate more than one officer on each street-end; there will be a uniformed officer with each pageant contestant. If there is a problem, you will have a law enforcement officer nearby."

The pageant, which is in its 83rd year, returns to the Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall after spending the last eight years in Las Vegas. Miss America organizer Sam Haskell says he wasn't on the board when the pageant left, but he is excited about its return to New Jersey.

"I can sincerely say that the up to 200,000 people that will be at our parade on the 15th of September, everyone is going to be safe," says Haskell.

ACPD Sgt.Monica McMenamin says police are discouraging visitors from bringing large bags and coolers, though there will be no formal system for searching or confiscating those items.

"Obviously, we're asking people to be vigilant and if they see anything to report it to the nearest police officer."

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