Seeking seniors, people with disabilities with talent

SEBRING — Love will fill the air as seniors and people with disabilities showcase their talent on stage during the fifth annual Special STARS Got Talent Show on Sept. 22.

This year’s event will have a theme, “Love.” Performers can earn extra points for incorporating the word or expressions of love in their show. It is not mandatory.

“With all the violence and recent shootings throughout our area and nation, we felt it is time for a show that expresses love instead of hate,” event coordinator Cindy Marshall said. “We want people to walk away with a good feeling about all people in life, including those with disabilities and the elderly.”

Adults or children with disabilities and seniors age 65 and older will hit the stage to demonstrate their talent during the Special STARS from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at the Bert J. Harris Agricultural Center, 4509 George Blvd., off U.S. 27 in Sebring. The doors open at 1 p.m. Show starts at 2 p.m. It is free admission to the general public but donations are encouraged.

A $100 prize, sponsored by Coffee News of FLA, will be awarded in all three divisions — children and adults with disabilities and seniors. Seniors will have to show proof of age and individuals with disabilities will also have to show some form of proof of their disability.

Performers can sing, dance, do comedy or any other act they feel will steal the hearts of three local judges. The judging criteria will be based on overall appearance (costuming), stage presence (showmanship on stage and interaction with audience), quality of performance (originality, singing in key, skill with instrument, etc.), and overall entertainment (audience appeal).

Each performer has five minutes on stage. There is no entry fee to participate. The competition is open to anyone in the surrounding area. Performers are encouraged to bring supporters to be in the audience. In addition to the cash prize, there will be trophies presented to the top finishers.

Auditions are set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Agricultural Center in Sebring. This will provide organizers an opportunity to see the acts and plan for the show the next day. Call Cindy Marshall at 863-452-1295, ext. 124, or 863-443-0438 to schedule an audition time. Entry forms are also available on Special STARS Facebook page;r request a form by emailing; or call the previously mentioned phone numbers.

An Expressive Art Contest using the theme “What is Love” will be judged by the public for awards. All artists with disabilities or seniors can enter for free. Artwork must be submitted by Sept. 20. Seniors and people with disabilities can get a free table to sell their arts and crafts.

Musician, entertainer and songwriter Rick Arnold of Sebring will be playing music for performers and provide entertainment between the acts. Performers should provide their own CD with music on it. Refreshments will be provided.

Special STARS is a nonprofit organization that provides 14 sports and eight recreational activities for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities in Highlands, Hardee and Okeechobee and southern Polk counties.

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