NEW YORK — The organizers of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade have invited Miss Universe to participate instead of Miss America, who traditionally has had the honor.
Miss America Katie Harman of Oregon had planned to ride in the Nov. 22 parade, but organizers told her this week that they’d already invited Miss Universe Denise Quinones.
Miss America Pageant winners have appeared in the parade since the 1960s, although some have missed it because of scheduling conflicts. Three of the last five before Harman participated.
"I’m extremely disappointed. This was something I was looking forward to," Harman, 21, said Friday. "People love seeing that traditions like Miss America and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are still around. That’s still something we can hold onto, something that wasn’t lost in the Sept. 11 attacks."
According to the New York Post, Donald Trump, co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, pulled strings to get Quinones into the parade.
Not so, said Macy’s spokeswoman Ronnie Taffet. No one with the Macy’s parade ever talked to Trump about it, she said.
The Atlantic City, N.J.-based Miss America Organization, which in years past called Macy’s in advance to ask that the new Miss America be included in the parade, didn’t contact Macy’s until this week, Taffet said.
In the meantime, Macy’s officials — who last year opened a store in San Juan, Puerto Rico — learned that Quinones was from Puerto Rico and liked the idea of including her, Taffet said.
Copyright ©2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.