Miss America pageant expected to have big economic impact on region

New London

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (WTNH)–This is the first time the Miss America pageant is coming to Connecticut.

It is set to grace the stage at Mohegan Sun Arena in December and is expected to have more of an economic impact across the entire region than many casino events.

That’s because these visitors are coming from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and many of them will need to stay at Mohegan Sun or nearby.

Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino

Mohegan Sun Arena seats 7,400. The casino has 1,600 hotel rooms.

“We fully expect that our hotels and the area hotels are going to be sold out,” said Ray Pineault, President & General Manager of Mohegan Sun.

Dianna Hampton, Miss Connecticut 2005, is happy to see the pageant come to her home state which she says has a lot to offer.

“A lot of pageant supporters, a lot of family members, sponsors come, glam squads come so it should be pretty exciting tourism wise,” said Hampton.

“Just think about when anybody travels to an area, you know you want to go see what the area has to offer,” said Pineault.

Nino’s Pizzeria in Uncasville expects to see an increase in customers for the December 19th pageant.

“I’m glad you told me. I’m going to have to staff to make sure we’re ready for it,” said manager Anthony Costa.

They serve up their New York style pizza to a lot of casino goers.

Nino’s Pizzeria in Uncasville

“We definitely see a good amount of people overflowing,” said Costa. “They want to get away from the hecticness of the casino.”

This year’s Miss Connecticut is Jillian Duffy. She’s conquered cancer and may become only the second Connecticut contestant to win the crown since 1933.

“I can’t think of a better fit for Miss America than that young woman,” said Hampton.

“I’m guessing they’re impartial judges so we can’t put it… but If I had my say I’d put my plug in for Miss Connecticut absolutely,” said Pineault.

This is just the third location for the Miss America pageant which started crowning contestants in 1921 in Atlantic City.

It went to Vegas for a couple of years and then back to Atlantic City before this year’s move to Mohegan Sun.

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