Getting Crowned in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Though Miss America skipped town to remake her image and revenues in Las Vegas, the pageant’s most identifiable MC and original crooner of “There She Is, Miss America” remains firmly planted in Atlantic City, waiting to crown anyone who stands before him. Bert Parks hosted the pageant for 25 years; his final years overlapped with the construction of Atlantic City’s first casinos. He now stands in front of the Sheraton Hotel, hands outstretched, fingertips just barely touching the famous tiara. Once triggered to sing when contestants stepped up, he now simply waits: his beneficent grin stretches the wrinkles on his face along with the moment of anticipation, as his eyes focus just above the contestant, forever ready for the photo-op.