The drum roll stopped Wednesday when the Miss America Organization announced it was awarding the Lehigh Valley a one-year franchise to host the pageant. The May 19-21 event, expected to bring $1 million in revenues, will be held at the State Theatre Center for the Arts in Easton, and the Allentown Comfort Suites in South Whitehall Township will be the official hotel.
Seventeen local pageants are held each year in Pennsylvania. Lehigh Valley organizers want to add pageants in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Berks or Lycoming counties to enable more women to compete for scholarships.
The Lehigh Valley bureau pitched Easton as well as Allentown to Miss America officials, but Allentown's Symphony Hall does not have air conditioning and the pageant is held at the end of May.