ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Tired and wired after too little sleep and too much coffee, the new Miss America hit the beach in Atlantic City on Monday in the traditional surf frolic held the morning after the pageant.
Miss Georgia Betty Cantrell won the title on Sunday night.
She noted the water in New Jersey is colder than it is in Georgia.
"I got about 45 minutes of sleep," she told a throng of reporters who trailed her onto the sand and back onto the Boardwalk. "I'm running on fumes and about five cups of coffee. I'm looking forward to spreading a message across America for the Children's Miracle Network and being an inspiration to young women all across America."
Her pageant platform was "Healthy Kids, Strong America."
The Children's Miracle Network raises funds for 170 children's hospitals across North America.
Cantrell rode an opera performance of "Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio" from "Madame Butterfly" to the 2016 title in Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall, besting 51 other competitors in the nationally televised pageant.
Monday morning, she shouted out greetings to well-wishers on the beach and Boardwalk.
"I love you, Atlantic City!" she yelled. "This is my first time on the beach in New Jersey. It's absolutely stunning."
Shedding her heels, she walked barefoot in the sand, in obvious relief.
"The sand feels amazing!" she said. "Much better than the heels I've been wearing all week."
Cantrell won a $50,000 scholarship along with her title.
The pageant marked the return of Vanessa Williams, who was back for the first time after resigning the crown in 1984 following a nude photo scandal. She served as head judge.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC