ATLANTIC CITY — Sandy Beach sauntered across the stage at Bourre in a sparkling dress and wig singing the Four Seasons’ “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” when she was, for a split second, interrupted by a water droplet falling from the ceiling.

“They still haven’t fixed this leak,” the 65-year-old drag queen joked after her performance as she tucked a dollar bill into her top at the recently opened Cajun eatery’s monthly drag brunch.

Sandy Beach (Robert) is no stranger to the venue.

She performed at Bourre throughout the 1970s when it was called the Saratoga, a popular gay bar that was one of dozens that lined New York and Kentucky avenues. She lived, for a time, in a boarding house on the Boardwalk where Ripley’s Believe it or Not now stands, with a group of other queens.

But by the end of the following decade, the strip had been bought and demolished by developers and subsequently left vacant, and the AIDS crisis put a strain on the gay community in Atlantic City, historians say. Throughout the 2000s, all that was left of the resort’s once bustling drag community were a few bars: Studio Six, which closed in 2007, and Resorts Casino Hotel’s ProBar.

Over the past few years, though, there’s been somewhat of a resurgence in Atlantic City, following the popularity of the cable-TV competition “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and societal changes. A slew of glittery, lighthearted casino productions and more theatrical cabaret shows have been popping up, and to some, it’s clear the resort’s drag culture has evolved.

“I’m wearing jeans and my sneakers,” Sandy Beach said as she lifted up her long skirt to reveal baggy men’s clothing underneath. “That’s how it was. If you went outside with the blue laws, you’d get arrested. Nowadays, with ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ you can wear a G-string, put pasties on ... and go, ‘I’m here.’”

The audiences have become straighter, and the jokes less political, as drag in the resort moves from its scrappy roots in gay bars to mainstream entertainment in casinos, said Laurie Greene, an associate professor of anthropology at Stockton University writing a book about the co-evolution of the Miss America pageant and its drag counterpart, the Miss’d America contest.

Forty years ago, Greene said, queens would go to a thrift store to throw together a cheap outfit and their sets would largely consist of jokes only a local, gay audience could understand. The performances would often be political, and the production value not as extravagant. Each queen would create her own character.

“Drag was an expression of the gay language, which is camp,” Greene said. “Now it’s seen as a nonthreatening entryway into the gay community.”

In 2016, Diva Royale began weekly drag shows at Tropicana Atlantic City, the same year RuPaul won his first Emmy award for “Drag Race.” Catering to bachelorette parties, four queens sing and do celebrity impersonations, from actress/singer/dancer Jennifer Lopez to country star Dolly Parton.

And last month, Golden Nugget Atlantic City hosted a Spice Girls-themed drag brunch, complete with mimosas and Bloody Marys.

“It’s more mainstream now than ever,” said Armand Peri, CEO of the production company that runs Diva Royale in 19 cities across the country.

You can find queens reading to kids, too. Philadelphia queen Brittany Lynn visited Dante Hall Theater last month for a story time event hosted by Stockton and arts nonprofit 48 Blocks. Similar literacy programs have been held throughout the U.S.

Brittany Lynn (real name Ian Morrison) began working in South Jersey in 1996 and has performed in a number of casinos and hotels along the Boardwalk, including the now-closed Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, the Claridge and Caesars Atlantic City. Outside of the few gay bars that have come and gone over the years, Lynn said she was booked for appearances at straight casino nightclubs and cabaret-style shows through the 2000s.

“Drag is always a staple at any kind of event because it’s so mainstream now. Any place you can imagine reaches out. Everybody wants drag queens,” said Lynn, founder of the performance group Philly Drag Mafia.

It’s not just more drag shows popping up in the city recently, but a wider variety of them.

Philadelphia queen Martha Graham Cracker is appearing at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa for the first time next month for a “rock-and-roll drag cabaret” at the Music Box with keyboardist Victor Fiorillo. And at the Showboat Atlantic City hotel in August, the traveling cabaret/drag troupe the Bearded Ladies will put on a theatrical, experimental production. Donning avant-garde makeup and outfits, the group’s website says they “tackle the politics of gender, identity and artistic intervention.”

For a laid-back afternoon, filled with bright costumes and lip syncing, there’s Bourre’s monthly drag brunch off the Boardwalk on New York Avenue.

The brunch started about nine months ago, after the restaurant’s owners, Diana Grossman and Charlie Interrante, were approached by Greene and others about the building’s colorful history.

Coming from Asbury Park, where there’s a thriving gay community, Grossman said she wanted to create a similar atmosphere in Atlantic City.

“Asbury Park is full of colorful people and where the gays are loud and proud, and we realized it wasn’t like that in Atlantic City,” Grossman said. “We just wanted to do something to say we want you here. ... It’s been catching on.”

GALLERY: Miss'd America through the years

This Saturday, the Miss'd America pageant returns to Atlantic City for its 26th installment, having evolved from the confines of the former Studio Six nightclub to the Event Center at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, where it will again be hosted by celebrity designer Carson Kressley. Take a look at the evolution of the pageant through the years.

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From right, Melanie Banks, primps in the mirror as Sheena Hipp and Salotta Tee get ready in a dressing room for the MissÕd America Pageant at …

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Guest performer Joy Marnier does latin dance with male dancers. Sun. 9/22/02 11th annual Miss'd America Pageant at Studio Six in Atlantic City…

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One of the production numbers during the Miss'd America Pageant, at the Studio Six outside theater, in Atlantic City, Sunday 9/21/03. The spoo…

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Faith Cherrywood performs his/her talent portion of the Miss'd America Pageant, a spoof on the Miss America. Pageant, held at Studio Six , Atl…

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From left, Claudia DuMont, Dee LaMour and Faith Cherrywood, prepare for the Miss'd America Pageant, at the Studio Six outside theater, in Atla…

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MISSDAMERICA---Miss Dareena Ho sings dressed as a Hershey's kiss....Eight contestants vie for the crown of Miss'd America........SUNDAY 09/19/…

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Miss'd America Pageant at Studio Six in Atlantic City, September 18, 1994

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Derina Hoe in evening gown. Sun. 9/22/02 11th annual Miss'd America Pageant at Studio Six in Atlantic City. Ten cross-dressers compete for the…

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The Miss'd America Pageant will be held at the Surfside Hotel in AC on Sunday, Sept. 19. ( L to R) Tene' Long of AC and Sheena Valquez from Pe…

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Salata Tea does comedy lip sync in talent. Sun. 9/22/02 11th annual Miss'd America Pageant at Studio Six in Atlantic City. Ten cross-dressers …

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MISSDAMERICA---It was a full house to watch the annual event....Eight contestants vie for the crown of Miss'd America........SUNDAY 09/19/2004…

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Sheena, MissÕd America 2003 begins walk down runway. Sun. 9/22/02 11th annual Miss'd America Pageant at Studio Six in Atlantic City. Ten cross…

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MISSDAMERICA---Sandy Robert Beach , one of the MC’s , loosens the crowd up between events...Eight contestants vie for the crown of Miss’d Amer…

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MISSDAMERICA---Miss Princess Janee comes backstage after doing her number.....Eight contestants vie for the crown of Miss'd America........SUN…

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MissÕd America 2002 Claudia DuMont crowns Sheena the MissÕd America 2003. Sun. 9/22/02 11th annual Miss'd America Pageant at Studio Six in Atl…

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The Miss'd America Pageant will be held at the Surfside Hotel in AC on Sunday, Sept. 19. Here Sheena Valquez of Pennsylvania rehearses her num…

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Derina Hoe in evening gown. Sun. 9/22/02 11th annual Miss'd America Pageant at Studio Six in Atlantic City. Ten cross-dressers compete for the…

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Ginger Ale performs his/her swimsuit portion of the Miss'd America Pageant, a spoof on the Miss America. Pageant, held at Studio Six , Atlanti…

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Faith Cherrywood puts on make-up before putting on hair in a dressing room for the MissÕd America Pageant at Studio Six in Atlantic City.

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Deela Moore performs in talent. Sun. 9/22/02 11th annual Miss'd America Pageant at Studio Six in Atlantic City. Ten cross-dressers compete for…

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MISSDAMERICA---A contestant walks the runway during the swimsuit competion ....Eight contestants vie for the crown of Miss'd America........SU…

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MISSDAMERICA---Sandy Robert Beach , one of the MC's , loosens the crowd up between events...Eight contestants vie for the crown of Miss'd Amer…

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Guest performer Chlamydia Liverpool. Sun. 9/22/02 11th annual Miss'd America Pageant at Studio Six in Atlantic City. Ten cross-dressers compet…

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Derina Hoe performs in talent. Sun. 9/22/02 11th annual Miss'd America Pageant at Studio Six in Atlantic City. Ten cross-dressers compete for …

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Ginger Louise performs in talent. Sun. 9/22/02 11th annual Miss'd America Pageant at Studio Six in Atlantic City. Ten cross-dressers compete f…

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The Miss'd America Pageant will be held at the Surfside Hotel in AC on Sunday, Sept. 19. Tene' Long of AC shows us what it takes to be a drag …

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MISSDAMERICA---Former Miss'd America , Chunkie Marinara , wowed the crowd and a few laughs , too. ....Eight contestants vie for the crown of M…

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Ginger Ale performs his/her talent portion of the Miss'd America Pageant, a spoof on the Miss America. Pageant, held at Studio Six , Atlantic …

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MISSDAMERICA---Miss Faith Cherrywood sings during the talent portion of the program ....Eight contestants vie for the crown of Miss'd America.…

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MISSDAMERICA---Last years Miss'd America , Brittany Lynn , crowns the new Miss'd America , Miss Andrea LaMour ....Eight contestants vie for th…

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held. Ms.Sapphira Cristal of texas, aka O'Neill Nichol Hayne…

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held. Host Carson Kressley.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held. Ms.Pattaya Hart, aka Methawee "Plu" Sayampol, of New Y…

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held. Host Carson Kressley.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held. Ms.Pattaya Hart, aka Methawee "Plu" Sayampol, of New Y…

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held. Ms.Sapphira Cristal of texas, aka O'Neill Nichol Hayne…

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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Ms. Pattaya Hart, aka Methawee ‘Plu’ Sayampol, of New York City, is crowned Miss’d America on Saturday night at the Borgata in Atlantic City. …

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss’d America contest is held. Ms.Pattaya Hart, aka Methawee “Plu” Sayampol, of New Y…

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held. Ms.Morgan Morgan Morgan of Pennyslvania during the tal…

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss’d America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held. Ms.Morgan Morgan Morgan of Pennyslvania during the tal…

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.

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On October 7th, 2017, at the Borgata casino, the annual Miss'd America contest is held.