s11 show us your shoes parade

Miss Delaware 2016 Amanda Debus contestant waves to the crowd during Miss America Show Us Your Shoes parade on the Atlantic City Boardwalk last year.

Edward Lea

I’ll just come right out and say it — speaking as a guy, the Miss America pageant is pretty girly. It’s a lot to do with fancy dresses, getting dolled up, and singing songs from popular Broadway shows or Disney films. For me, it’s not exactly the most macho, male-centric event around.

Of course, any time you gather 51 of the best-looking women in the country in a large group, there will always be some curiosity from us menfolk. And if there is one event that seems girly but really is for the guys, it’s the “Show Us Your Shoes” parade. While the Miss America pageant has clearly modernized itself over the years, there are still aspects of it that harken back to the past, and the “Shoe Parade” is one bit of history that won’t be leaving any time soon. What history? Well, according to folklore, the parade got its start when a man once shouted, “Show us your shoes!” to a contestant as a sneaky way to catch a glimpse of her leg as she paraded by.

But can an entire parade devoted to women’s shoes really be for men? Yes.

Think about it — we’re talking about an army of hot chicks, riding down the boardwalk in badass vintage or brand new, hot rod convertibles while showing off their legs to all who request to see them (all under the very PG guise of showcasing mostly home state-themed footwear). For now, the only bands that participate are the occasional marching band, but this event really is somewhat of reminiscent a Motley Crue concert.

Come to think of it, Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee was a former marching band drummer, so there is even a link there. All that’s missing now are some loud guitars and a noticeably out-of-shape frontman.

Even if you find this Crue/shoe comparison to be a bit of a stretch, we suggest you check out the parade anyway. Especially if you are a guy who has not indulged previously.

“I can’t remember a year that I didn’t go since we moved down here. My wife has to ‘drag me,’ but I never say no,” laughs John Hesson, a retired school teacher from New Hampshire.

“A parade with muscle cars and pageant girls — maybe it sounds like two things that don’t go together, but to me it’s sorta the same thing as the cheerleaders at a football game. It’s a match made in heaven!”

Where to view the shoe

When it comes to million-dollar views of the Atlantic City Boardwalk, award-winning Chef Jose Garces’ new restaurant Olon at Tropicana Atlantic City is tough to beat. And on Saturday, Sept. 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. they will hold a viewing party for the Show Us Your Shoes parade. The party will feature Rose Cava and Brut Cava, house red and white wines along with appetizer specials such as chicken empanadas, mini crab cakes, skirt steak anticuchos, mini shrimp ceviches and various desserts. Tickets are $75 and can be Purchased at Ticketmaster.com

Olon is at Tropicana Atlantic City, 2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City

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