ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will start facing off Wednesday night in Atlantic City, hoping to become the next Miss America.

The 97th Miss America competition will begin with the first of three nights of preliminary competition at Boardwalk Hall, the seaside arena where the next Miss America will be crowned in Sunday night's nationally televised finale.

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On Saturday, the contestants will show off their state-specific footwear in the annual "Show Us Your Shoes" parade along the Boardwalk.

The contestants are vying to succeed Savvy Shields, last year's Miss Arkansas who won the title a year ago.