Three years ago, the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® introduced its highly popular talent contest: CarCreditNation “Apple Blossom’s Got Talent!” presented by PMSI. As with all new events, especially one with five separate event dates [and, three of those held during the difficult winter months], there has been some experimentation as Festival Organizers worked to get the perfect system in place. The “study time” has paid off; and, the event has now found a very comfortable home at Old Town Winchester’s most popular live performance venue: the Bright Box Theater, at 15 North Loudoun Street, on the Old Town Walking Mall. Three Audition Rounds were held on the second Wednesdays of January, February and March. Nearly 90 contestants were juried at those Auditions; and, each Audition produced 10 super-talented acts to move forward as Semi-Finalists. Now, with the winter months officially behind us, and spring at hand, the Semi-Final Round is upon us, set for Wednesday, April 6th, 2016, at 7:00pm, at the aforementioned Bright Box Theater.
Since last year, the Bright Box Theater has made many subtle tweaks to its interesting and sophisticated layout. Since last year’s contest, the downstairs performance room has been enlarged by the re-arrangement of tables and chairs, and the addition of a shelf bar all the way around the room. The Festival has been able to add seating in the downstairs room because of this. A tour of the facilities this past Friday revealed that there have been renovations in the upstairs seating area just since the March 2016 Audition. Once again, this has been done to increase capacity and improve ambience and sight lines. Our host at the Bright Box Theater, owner Marilyn Finnemore, gave us the following statement: “Bright Box Theater, in the heart of Old Town Winchester, has state-of-the-art sound, classy ambience, and a welcoming staff. This beautiful two-story venue, has two bars that serve wine, craft beer, and locally distilled craft liquor selections, and a Bistro that provides excellent appetizers, light entrees, and mouth-watering desserts. For the Semi-Finals and Finals of “Apple Blossom’s Got Talent!” special Apple Blossom featured food and drink options will be available.”
Of course, the reason for the entire process, from early January to Festival Week, is for a handful of talented contestants to make it through to the Finals, to be held at 7:00pm, on Wednesday, April 27th, 2016. On that night, prizes of $5,000 for First Place, $1,500 for Second Place, and $500 for Third Place will be awarded. The Semi-Finals is the next huge step in this process. Event Chair, Theresa Gaines, recently told us: “This year the talent has been more incredible than we could have imagined. It has been a tough season for our judges to make their choices. Some of the stand-out talents we have going into the Semi-Finals are a magician, a 4-piece Jazz Band with all members under 25 years old, Irish dancers, Lindy Hop dancers, extremely talented singers, and much more. There will be 30 contestants auditioning for the Semi-Finals, and only 12 will move on to the Finals. We are sure that the talent level at this year’s Finals will be the best we have had.”
As in the past, the Festival has tried very hard to save 2 to 3 tickets for each Semi-Final act, so that they could have friends and family members present at the Bright Box Theater to root them on. However, that time limit has passed; and, the restrictions are off; and, now all remaining tickets for the Semi-Finals are open for sale to the general public. In a first-time move, in keeping with our continuing effort to make more levels of on-line ticketing available to the Bloom Nation, we are going to release limited quantities of tickets to the Semi-Finals for on-line purchase. All other tickets for “Apple Blossom’s Got Talent!” are on sale at Apple Blossom Headquarters, at 135 North Cameron Street; and, there may also be some tickets for sale at the door.