Taste of Talent tuning up for yet another year

From staff reports

Downtown Franklin is gearing up for the weekly Taste of Talent vocal competition beginning at 7 p.m. today in Bandstand Park.

New and repeat participants will compete in the eighth annual event, which draws crowds of up to 1,400 people, according to Franklin Events coordinator Ronnie Beith.

“For the new performers, there’s a lot of talent there, and those who are coming back are well-liked by the audiences. I’m looking toward to another great Taste of Talent competition,” Beith said.

Competition will take place at 7 p.m. every Wednesday – from June 28 to July 26 – in Bandstand Park. The semifinals will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, and the finals will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6.

Food vendors set up shop in the park each week and serve sweets, ice cream, pizza, fruit and other food.

The judges for this year’s competition are Tammi Dahl and Nathaniel Licht.

The winner of Taste of Talent receives $1,000 cash and three runners-up each receives $100 cash and a $100 Franklin retail gift certificate, Beith said.

Contestants in this year’s competition are Ashleigh Bennett, of Franklin; Shannon Birsa, of Oil City; Tyler Carson, of Rocky Grove; Hagan Cook, of Rocky Grove; Kiara Gabler, of Leeper; Joseph Lillard, of Oil City; Mitch Littler, of Oil City; Nicole McCann, of Titusville; Chris Miller, of Meadville; Cassy Powley, of Springdale; Lauren Skelley, of Shippenville; and Joni Zacherl, of Clarion.

“There are some great song choices the first week and a lot of variety for the kickoff. I think there is something for everyone there as far as the song choices go,” Beith said.