During a Sunday brunch at the Tropicana Atlantic City, Miss New Jersey Kaitlyn Schoeffel made the rounds giving hugs and taking selfies with dozens of her friends and supporters at her “Miss America Send Off” party.
“It’s so incredible,” said Schoeffel, who in less than a month will join the 50 other contestants at Boardwalk Hall for the 97th Miss America competition.
“I know today is a send-off for me, but I just want to take today and have it as a thank you to all of the people who have supported me throughout the years,” Schoeffel said.
The send-off party is a tradition hosted by the “pageant family.”
Schoeffel held the title of Miss Eastern Shore 2017 before being crowned Miss New Jersey in June. Miss Eastern Shore, along with five other local competitions, are organized by the same group, Seashore Line Pageants.
Seashore Line Pageants Director Carol Taylor said they’ve had the honor of hosting 15 send-off parties over the years for their pageant winners who go on to compete for either Miss America or Miss Outstanding Teen.
“We’re very proud of our girls each year,” said Taylor.
As a part of the send-off, members of the Miss New Jersey Class of 2017 honored Schoeffel with kinds word and encouragement.
Schoeffel was also gifted a diamond New Jersey pendant from Bernie Robbins Jewelers and a donation from the Seashore Line Pageants, to help with any remaining costs in preparation for Miss America.
“We’ve been blown away by the support,” said Margot Schoeffel, Miss New Jersey’s mother. “We consider everyone here family. I’m so grateful for everyone here.”
Preliminary competition for Miss America begins Sept. 6. The final night of the competition will be broadcast live Sept. 10 from Boardwalk Hall on ABC networks.