ATLANTIC CITY — In less than two weeks, a new Miss America will be crowned. The contestants arrived in New Jersey this week to begin the preliminary competitions in advance of the 96th annual Miss America Pageant, which takes place on Sept. 11, live from Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.

The hopefuls were welcomed to shore town Tuesday afternoon to kick off two weeks that will culminate in the crowning of the 2017 Miss America.

Betty Cantrell, the current Miss America, was part of Tuesday's events and remembered her own experience last year as one of more than 50 hopefuls in the 2016 pageant.

"It seems like you're so small," said Cantrell, who represented Georgia. "You're one of 52 girls: how are you going to be noticed? The best thing you can do is just be yourself."

New Jersey will be represented this year by Mantua's 22-year-old Brenna Wieck, who won the Miss New Jersey title on her fourth try. Weick’s platform is about cyberbullying and a program she has developed called “A World of Difference – Navigating the Cyber Sphere.”

Wondering who each state sent as its representative? Meet each of the 52 contestants in the photo gallery above, and click here to learn more about their platforms and talents. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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