Miss New Jersey contestants wear villain costumes as they parade on the Ocean City Boardwalk.

Edward Lea

OCEAN CITY - A collection of villains - from Poison Ivy of Batman fame to Cruella de Vil from "101 Dalmatians" - rolled down the Boardwalk on Wednesday in the annual Miss New Jersey parade.

The 23 contestants had fun with their costumes, taking the opportunity to dress in elaborate outfits that impressed even experienced parade watchers.

"This was definitely way over the top," said the current Miss New Jersey, Lindsey Petrosh. "I couldn't compare my float last year to these."

The parade villains included the comical Hamburglar, portrayed by Miss Island Resort Cara McCollum, and the evil Nurse Ratched, as done by Miss Central Coast Melissa Hoffman.

Fans lined the Boardwalk from Sixth to 14th streets to watch, take pictures and cheer for their favorite contestants.

Kate Harenza, of Wyomissing, Pa., brought her daughters Madrid, 15, and Elizabeth, 9, as well as her mother, Lynda. The family owns a home in Ocean City and comes each year during pageant week.

"This is a yearly tradition for us" Harenza said. "It's fun and healthy and different."

The family looks forward each year to watching the Miss America Pageant, knowing they saw Miss New Jersey on the Ocean City Boardwalk.

"We've been coming for 10 years now," Harenza said. "We love the 'Show us your Shoes'."

Lynda said she was disappointed when the Miss America Pageant left Atlantic City and is glad to see it back.

As for their favorite costumes? The Wicked Witch of the West, Captain Hook and Cruella de Vil were family's picks.

Pageant co director Lou Barthold said he was impressed too.

"The girls put a lot of effort into this," he said as the parade came to an end.

But there would be little time to celebrate their good work.

"Back to rehearsals," Barthold said.

Preliminaries for the pageant will be held the next two nights beginning at 7 p.m. at the Music Pier, with the finals at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Contact Trudi Gilfillian:



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