ALTON - A talent show is coming to Alton, and organizer Cory Sellars promises it will be a fun time for audience members and performers alike.

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From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, 2024, community members can stop by Milton Schoolhouse to audition for the chance to win a grand prize package. There will also be a vendor fair at the schoolhouse throughout the afternoon. At 6 p.m., the top performers will head down to Jacoby Arts Center, where they will perform for a crowd of people and one winner will be crowned.

“The talent show is going to be great. It’s going to be one of the cooler things that Alton does,” Sellars said. “I wish I could take more credit for it, but really, honestly, if you just left me to my own devices, it would have ended with me in a lawn chair watching people do tricks in my garden.”

Sellars got the idea for a talent show after listening to “Talent Show” by The Replacements. He decided he wanted to offer $500 for the best talent in Alton.

When the community heard about his plans, a lot of people jumped in to contribute. Jacoby Arts Center and Milton Schoolhouse were both eager to get on board, and a few other businesses, including LuciAnna’s Pastries and Grand Piasa Body Art, offered prize money or awards for the winning performer. Gumbo 2 Geaux will gift a year’s worth of free food to the winner.

“It’s going to be crazy. The prize package is nuts,” Sellars said. “What I need, though, I need talent. I need people to show up and audition and perform.”

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Sellars said the audition will be “American Idol style,” with each contestant performing their talent in front of a panel of judges. Contestants must be over age 18. Participants can also enjoy the vendor fair at Milton, a silent auction and an open house until 5 p.m.

Starting at 6 p.m. at Jacoby Arts Center, a gala with dinner by Gumbo 2 Geaux and the talent show itself will kick off. Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship will perform, and tickets cost $50. People are also invited to come to the finale of the talent show at 8 p.m. for an additional $20.

Sellars pointed out that there are a lot of events happening in Alton during the June 22 weekend, including the F-1 powerboat championship and the Mississippi River Festival. He noted that if you don’t make it to the talent show finale, you can check out one of these other events instead.

“We want to make it a great weekend to come to Alton,” he added. “Alton events should not compete with each other for any reason. They should just be a celebration of this weird-ass river city.”

Though the talent show contestants will be competing against each other, it promises to be friendly and fun. Sellars hopes to see singers, instrumentalists, drag queens, magicians and many other talented performers come “out of the woodwork.”

“There’s so many different things that people can do,” he said. “Check it out. Tell everyone that you’re going. Tell all your friends. And once you arrive, do something cool.”

If you are interested in learning more about Alton’s first talent show, visit the official Facebook event page.

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