ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Nina Davuluri became the first contestant of Indian heritage and the second consecutive contestant from New York to win the Miss America pageant Sunday night.

Davuluri, 24, won the title as the nationally televised pageant returned home to Atlantic City.

She succeeds another Miss New York, Mallory Hagan, whose tenure was cut short when the pageant moved back to Atlantic City after a six-year stint in Las Vegas, where winners were chosen in January.

Davuluri performed a classical Bollywood fusion dance for her talent competition.

After the traditional frolic in the Atlantic City surf Monday morning, she will head to the scene of a devastating boardwalk fire in the New Jersey communities of Seaside park and Seaside Heights on Monday afternoon.

The pageant had pitted 53 contestants – one from each state, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands – in swimsuit, evening gown, talent and interview competitions.

"This is where we belong," Sam Haskell, CEO of the Miss America Organization, told The Associated Press. "This is the home of Miss America, and this is where we're going to stay."

Much attention had been given to Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, who is believed to be the first Miss America contestant to openly display tattoos. She has the Serenity Prayer on her rib cage and a military insignia on the back of a shoulder. While other contestants wore glamorous costumes and elaborately decorated footwear during Saturday night's "show-us-your-shoes" parade on the Boardwalk, Vail wore camouflage gear and Army boots.

In a Twitter message Sunday, Vail wrote: "Win or not tonight, I have accomplished what I set out to do. I have empowered women. I have opened eyes."

Vail made it to the Top 10 and won a nationwide voters' choice award propelling her into the semi-finals.

Another noteworthy contestant was Miss Florida, Myrrhanda Jones, who made it into the top 5 while wearing a bejeweled knee brace. She tore ligaments in her knee while rehearsing her baton twirling routine on Thursday. Sunday night, she performed the routine flawlessly.

The pageant started in Atlantic City as a way to extend the summer tourism season for an extra weekend.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

A preview from last year's pageant:
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  • Yu Wenxia, Jessica Kahawaty

    Newly crowned Miss World Yu Wenxia of China, center back, and second runner-up Miss Australia Jessica Kahawaty, second from left in foreground, are congratulated by other contestants during the Miss World 2012 beauty pageant at the Ordos Stadium Arena in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • Yu Wenxia, Sophie Moulds, Jessica Kahawaty

    Newly crowned Miss World Yu Wenxia of China, center, holds hand with first runner-up Miss Wales Sophie Moulds, center left, and 2nd runner-up Miss Australia Jessica Kahawaty, center right, as they sing during the Miss World 2012 beauty pageant at the Ordos Stadium Arena in inner Mongolia, China Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • Yu Wenxia, Sophie Moulds, Jessica Kahawaty

    Newly crowned Miss World Yu Wenxia of China, center, is congratulated by first runner-up Miss Wales, Sophie Moulds, left, and 2nd runner-up Miss Australia Jessica Kahawaty, right, during the Miss World 2012 beauty pageant at the Ordos Stadium Arena in inner Mongolia, China Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • Yu Wenxia, Ivian Lunasol Sarcos Colmenares

    Miss World 2011, Ivian Lunasol Sarcos Colmenares of Venezuela, behind, crowns Yu Wenxia of China as the Miss World 2012 during the Miss World 2012 beauty pageant at the Ordos Stadium Arena in inner Mongolia, China Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • Miss World 2012 winner Yu Wenxia (C) of China, second place contestant Miss Wales Sophie Moulds (L) and third place Miss Australia Jessica Kahawaty (R) pose for photos following the pageant's final ceremony at the Ordos Stadium Arena in the inner Mongolian city of Ordos on August 18, 2012. (Ed Jones/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Miss World 2012 winner Yu Wenxia (C) of China waves as she stands next to second place contestent Miss Wales Sophie Moulds (L) and third place Miss Australia Jessica Kahawaty (R) during the pageant's final ceremony at the Ordos Stadium Arena in the inner Mongolian city of Ordos on August 18, 2012. (Ed Jones/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Miss World 2012 winner Yu Wenxia (C) of China waves as she walks to receive the crown during the pageant's final ceremony at the Dongsheng stadium in the inner Mongolian city of Ordos on August 18, 2012. (Ed Jones/AFP/GettyImages)