ABINGDON, Va. — A new talent show at the Washington County Fair will wind down a flurry of fun activities held during the 70th anniversary of the historic attraction happening through Sept.14.

“Washington County’s Got Talent Contest,” scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14, will feature some of the best amateur talents in the area.

The contest, open to ages 17 and older, will be held at Building A at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Abingdon. Registration begins at 3 p.m., and the first act takes the stage at 3:30 p.m.

Residents in Washington County and surrounding areas are invited to participate.

“The talent contest is open to all adults. You don’t have to live in Washington County to participate,” said Jennifer Berry Blankenship, chairwoman of the entertainment committee for the fair.

“For this first year, we’re just focusing on performers who sing or play an instrument,” said Blankenship. Participants will be judged on stage presence, showmanship, technical ability, audience participation and overall performance.

“The region is full of talented people who pick and sing at barbecues and other gatherings and even from their own back porches. It’s time to showcase that talent.”

Blankenship said fair organizers added the contest to the lineup of events this year in response to numerous requests from residents for a talent show.

“It might not be a huge event this year, but I hope within the next few years, it will turn into a big attraction for the fair,” she said.

Brandon Gobble, of Abingdon, who plays the guitar and sings, plans to participate in a solo performance at the contest.

Gobble and his band, CB and the 10-4s, play a wide variety of music from bluegrass and gospel, to country and rock and roll.

Gobble, a self-taught musician, was inspired to learn the guitar at age 12 after hearing gospel music performed in a country church.

“I started playing in church, and that’s how I learned.”

Gobble and other participants will be in the running for trophies and cash prizes.

Cash prizes are $500 for first place, $300 for second place and $150 for third place.

Cash prizes are being sponsored by Brandon and Angie Dotson of Jack Slate Enterprises in honor of their daughter, Audrey Blake Dotson, who died four years ago.

“What a great way to honor her memory because we are confident that, if she were here with us, she’d be up on that stage,” said Angie Dotson.

“We’re really excited about this talent show. I think it’s something the county fair needs. It’s going to be another great opportunity for the community to come together and support the area’s great talent.”

Participants are required to pay a $25 entry fee in cash or check.

Performance times will be based on first-come, first-served for entries. Entries will be accepted the day of the event.

Participants are allowed to bring a backup CD for music accompaniment.

If time permits, pre-entries can be emailed or faxed before noon on Friday, Sept. 13.

For a complete list of rules and regulations and to download the entry form, visit online at www.washcofair.com/washington-countys-got-talent.

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Carolyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer in Glade Spring, Virginia. Contact her at news@washconews.com.

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