ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — There they are: the 52 Miss America contestants, on the Atlantic City Boardwalk – and not a moment too soon for a city that could use a happy diversion.

The hopefuls were welcomed to the seaside resort Tuesday afternoon to kick off two weeks that will culminate in the crowning of the 2017 Miss America on Sept. 11.

They arrived as Atlantic City faces yet another imminent casino closing – the Trump Taj Mahal is due to shut down on Oct. 10 – as well as a threatened state takeover of its finances and decision-making power.

Maine is represented by Marybeth Noonan of Raymond.

The contestants from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico met the public in front of Boardwalk Hall on Tuesday.

This year’s competition is the 96th in the history of the pageant, which originated as a way to extend the summer tourist season in Atlantic City for an extra week beyond Labor Day.

The current Miss America, Betty Cantrell, recalled sitting on the same stage a year ago as one of more than 50 hopefuls.