By Donald Wittkowski
Glitz, glamour and shouts of “Show us your shoes” will liven up the Boardwalk on Wednesday evening during the Miss New Jersey Parade, an event that traditionally attracts thousands of spectators to Ocean City.
In all, 28 Miss New Jersey Pageant contestants will be chauffeured along the Boardwalk between Sixth and 14th streets starting at 7 p.m. The parade is free to the public.
Riding in convertibles, the contestants follow tradition by flashing their colorfully decorated footwear to the famous command of “Show us your shoes” from the crowds.
The parade and three nights of competition at the Music Pier during Pageant Week allow the city to showcase itself to thousands of visitors.
“Ocean City each year welcomes the Miss New Jersey Pageant contestants, their families and their fans,” city spokesman Doug Bergen said. “Many visit for the first time during Pageant Week, but end up returning year after year to vacation here, and they’re always welcome.”
Entering its 21st consecutive year in Ocean City, the parade will feature the theme “Television Comes Alive on the Boardwalk.” Contestants will dress up to complement the theme.
In addition to the contestants, the procession will feature marching bands, entertainers, community groups and local business entries.
The parade is the opening event for the Miss New Jersey Pageant, which is held at the Music Pier at Moorlyn Terrace and the Boardwalk. Preliminary competitions are scheduled Thursday and Friday evening, with the finals set for 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $45 to $65.
Reigning Miss New Jersey Brenna Weick will crown her successor. The winner will go on to represent New Jersey at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City on Sept. 10.
Miss New Jersey contestants with local ties include Natalie Ragazzo, a former Little Miss Ocean City, and Madison Kennelly, a former Ocean City Intermediate School student.
The preliminaries include the swimsuit segment, talent competition and interview questions. Action News 6-ABC weather anchor Karen Rogers will host the pageant all three nights. She will be joined by a co-host and former Miss New Jersey, Dena Blizzard, on Thursday evening.