ATLANTIC CITY — While the future home of the Miss America Competition remains unclear, the Miss New Jersey pageant on Wednesday announced it is moving to the resort.

Miss New Jersey Education Foundation Executive Director David Holtzman said during a news conference the 2019 and 2020 Miss New Jersey competitions would be held at Resorts Casino Hotel’s Superstar Theater.

The announcement marks the first major change to the state pageant under Holtzman, who was named executive director of the education foundation in December when Miss New Jersey’s licensing was restored by the Miss America Organization.

Miss New Jersey had previously been held at the Ocean City Music Pier for 22 years. Ocean City officials did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

“We’ve kind of outgrown that facility,” Holtzman said of the Music Pier. “We’ve sold out over the last few years. And in my heart, we wanted to bring it to Atlantic City.”

Pageant week will start June 9, with Miss New Jersey 2019 crowned June 15.

This year’s pageant will follow the new swimsuit-less Miss America 2.0 format, focusing instead on on-stage interviews with contestants.

The Superstar Theater has about 1,350 seats and multiple dressing rooms for the pageant’s 27 to 28 contestants, Holtzman said.

“It’s just a whole other level for us,” said Holtzman. “When you see who has been in those dressing rooms — it’s unreal.”

Autographed posters and head shots from 40 years of performers hang on the walls of the theater’s backstage areas, while Frank Sinatra’s concrete handprints are staged under glass outside it.

“I am excited for what’s to come within the Miss New Jersey organization,” said Miss New Jersey 2018 Jaime Gialloreto. “It’s all up from here.”

The state pageant began in 1933 crowning one woman to represent New Jersey in the Miss America pageant held in September at Boardwalk Hall.

Miss New Jersey has also been held in Wildwood and Cherry Hill.

The fate of the state pageant was in doubt just a few weeks ago, as the Miss America Organization in December had revoked the Miss New Jersey Education Foundation’s license. It renewed the license Dec. 26, naming Holtzman to the directorship in the process.

According to a Miss New Jersey board member, no specific reason was given as to why the license had been revoked.

The MAO states in the state organization agreement it has the right to terminate the licensing contract with or without reason.

In June, 22 state executive directors, including then-Miss New Jersey Director Sally Johnston, signed a “vote of no confidence” online letter that called for the immediate resignations of MAO board Chairwoman Gretchen Carlson, CEO Regina Hopper and the entire Miss America Board of Trustees.

The location of this year’s Miss America Competition is still unannounced.

Holtzman said Wednesday he did not know the status of the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City.

“I’m optimistic. I’ll try to do whatever I can for them, but right now I’m not privy to anything different than you know,” said Holtzman.

In September, the MAO sent the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority a request for proposal to host the 99th and 100th anniversary pageants. Details of the pageant’s costs and requirements include $2.5 million to $4.9 million for the pageant’s production, $325,000 for hotel accommodations, security and transportation, complimentary or discounted room rates for contestants, family members and staff, and a presidential suite for Carlson.

CRDA Executive Director Matt Doherty said the authority could not finance the pageant as it had for the past six years but does hope Miss America can find another sponsor that will keep the pageant in its hometown.

Contact: 609-272-7286 Twitter @ACPress_LC

Staff Writer

Joined the Press in November 2016. Graduate of Quinnipiac University. Previously worked as a freelance reporter in suburban Philadelphia and news/talk radio producer.

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