A piece of Miss America history will take place in Southeast Connecticut this weekend.
On Monday, Miss America contestants from the 50 States will step out in Mystic for the Show Me Your Shoes fashion show. This will be the first time the event has taken place in Connecticut after years in Atlantic City, NJ, and will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the contest.
Atlantic City had been the traditional home and birthplace of competition. But this year, the event will take place at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville.
The competition was canceled last year due to issues related to COVID-19. The last Miss America pageant was held in 2019.
The last Show Me Your Shoes fashion show was in 2018 before Miss America left New Jersey.
At the head of the organization of the relocated parade, the reigning Miss Connecticut Sapna Raghavan of Ellington.
“The Show Me Your Shoes fashion show is an iconic piece in Miss America’s history,” said Raghavan. “Each year (Miss America contestants) from all 50 states make a shoe that represents their state and the history of their state.
“Each girl will get in a car, and everyone is saying, ‘Show me your shoes.’ And she lifts her leg and shows her shoes.
“It’s a true celebration of our country’s history,” said Raghavan, “and, of course, the contest and what it means to so many people.”
This year’s competition will take place in December. But Raghavan said the parade was happening this weekend because “the Miss America pageant was on (Labor Day) (weekend) in Atlantic City. So our 100th anniversary is actually (this) weekend.
As the contest turns 100 this year, Raghavan said, “We’re so lucky to have it in Connecticut. And I am so happy to show our great condition.
She said the Mystic community in Groton was “great” to work with.
“I think it’s really important, especially after COVID, for all these small businesses that are really maintaining the state… to show what they have and to really show what the state has to offer – which it sure is. a local charm, but also a lot of heart.
Despite concerns about COVID-19, especially when it comes to travel, Raghavan said all applicants should travel to Connecticut for the parade.
“There are definitely protocols in place, but everyone from what I know is coming,” she said. “So we will have 50 women coming to Windsor Locks at Bradley (international) airport.”
For many competitors, Raghavan noted that Connecticut is uncharted territory.
“It was really fun to hear that everyone was thinking about the logistics to get to the Windsor Locks,” said Raghavan. “So it’s nice to see that our small towns are making a place for themselves on the map. “
An added dimension of logistics was securing cars for all of the contestants – as well as cars for a few previous Miss America winners – to participate in the parade.
“It’s actually very interesting,” said Raghavan. “My parents have a small manufacturing business in South Windsor. So we’ve dealt with a lot of things going on with the auto industry.
There has been a shortage of semiconductors, which has resulted in a shortage of new cars, she said.
“It was a lot (of work) to try to get these cars, but I know (the parade organizers) worked really hard, and we will have convertibles for all the women,” Raghavan said.
“It will be a truly iconic weekend for the fans going out.”
In a speech for onlookers, Raghavan said, “If you’re a Connecticut fan, I think there’s someone you might want to see (pointing fingers). I want to see you ”along the parade route.
Additionally, Raghavan encouraged people to come out because “it’s just an amazing opportunity for everyone to get involved in what the Miss America Pageant is all about.”
With the competition calling Connecticut her home for the next three years, she said, “Why not get involved in all the excitement now?”
Besides the parade this weekend, Miss America will be celebrating her centenary with a gala at the Mohegan Sun Tuesday at 6 p.m.
The Show Me Your Shoes parade kicks off at 10 a.m. on Monday. The parade begins at the intersection of Route 27 and Coogan Boulevard, Mystic. It heads, in order, to Clara Drive, Coogan Boulevard, Route 27, Willow Street, Broadway Avenue, East Main Street, Holmes Street, and Route 27 to Mystic. The parade is free.
For more information on the parade or tickets to the gala or parade, visit MissAmerica.org.