The Miss America pageant is a long-standing competition which
awards scholarships to young women from the 50 states plus the
District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The
first-prize winner of the national pageant is awarded the title of
"Miss America" for one year. The pageant originated as a beauty
contest in 1921, but now prefers to avoid this term since Swimsuit
and Evening Wear comprise 35 percent of the overall score used to
judge contestants. The pageant began in Atlantic City, New Jersey
and was held there each year in September through 2004 (except for
the year 2000, when it was held on October 14). In January 2006 the
pageant moved to its new home and time in Las Vegas, Nevada. The
pageant presents itself as a "scholarship pageant," and the primary
prizes for the winner and her runners-up are given scholarships to
the institution of her choice.
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