A statistician is challenging Atlantic City's claim that close to a quarter-million people lined its famed boardwalk for the Miss America parade Sept. 14.

Jackson Memorial Marching Band performs in the "Show Us Your Shoes" parade in Atlatnic City (Bud McCormick)

Anthony Marino wrote in a column in The Press of Atlantic City that his analysis put the crowd size at somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000.

The official crowd estimate of 225,000 was cited by organizers as a sign of renewed interest in the Miss America competition and its "show-us-your-shoes" parade after a six-year absence from Atlantic City.

City officials are sticking by their estimate, saying they relied on a standard grid analysis used in counting crowds.

But Marino, a former statistician for the South Jersey Transportation Authority, says his analysis of video and photo evidence shows the official number is "an extreme embellishment."

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