The Miss America 2014 pageant is a welcome distraction this year in the midst of financial crisis.
The city began the year with 12 casinos on the infamous boardwalk. But on the same day that the Miss America 2014 competitions started, Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for bankruptcy and threatened to close what will soon be its lone remaining casino, the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort.
The Trump Taj Mahal is the fifth casino to crumble this year on the boardwalk. Among others that have fallen prey to financial difficulty are The Atlantic Club, Showboat, and Revel.
It's a sad time for Atlantic City right now, but pageant officials are hoping that the Miss America 2014 pageant, as well as the fun preliminary competitions, will help raise spirits.
"Our hearts go out to the many, many people who have lost their jobs," said Sam Haskell III, CEO of the Miss America Organization.
He continued, "We hope that the Miss America competition, the Show Us Your Shoes parade and all the wonderful events this week are going to help bring some happiness and joy to this great city that serves as the birthplace of Miss America. We know what's going on here and we want to be something positive."
The Miss America 2014 pageant hasn't gone off without a hitch so far, however. Miss Rhode Island, Ivy DePew, collapsed onstage and was taken to a hospital for treatment right before awards for the day's competitions were announced.
It doesn't seem too serious. Dena Blizzard, the pageant's host, told the audience "She just got a little overheated."
Pageant officials expect Ivy DePew to be fine and return to competition.
Good luck to all of those competing in the Miss America 2014 pageant. Hopefully it will take Atlantic City's minds off of the crumbling casino industry, even if it's just for a little while.