The Westminster Department of Recreation and Parks is searching for Carroll County residents who can sing, dance, or do something unusual or amazing for it's inaugural Westminster's Got Talent competition.

"This is a brand new event that we thought would be great," said program specialist Robin Cherney. "We thought it would be really neat to see the folks in Westminster and see what they have to offer."

Cherney said there are so many talent shows on television today, like America's Got Talent, American Idol, and The X Factor, and she thought Carroll County residents would be interested in competing in a local competition.

Kristi Turgeon, of the Department of Recreation and Parks, said the competition is modeled after America's Got Talent in some ways, but not entirely.

"For most of our programs, we start with a brainstorming session and we narrow our ideas as we go along. For Westminster's Got Talent, our brainstorming session started with an idea and we broadened it," Turgeon said. "It went from a smaller, more focused event to wanting to include a broad range of talents and age groups. In some ways it is modeled after the show; however, we really just wanted to as inclusive as possible and not limit what talents people could showcase."

The competition is open to anyone, with no age or residency restrictions, Cherney said, and all talents will be accepted, as long as they are family-friendly.

Turgeon said she thinks the show will be popular because it doesn't have restrictions, besides being family friendly.

"I know some of the local schools organize successful talent shows but now, with our event, Mom, Dad older siblings or even Grandma or Grandpa can showcase their talents," she said.

Participants will be given three minutes to perform their talents, which must be able to be done in a small space, like on a stage.

Turgeon said each of the judges, whose names have not been announced, will bring a unique perspective to the show.

"I hope the judges will be looking for the range of talent, uniqueness and things that make a contestant stand out in the crowd," she said. "I will let the individual judges decide what makes the contestant stand out."

Winners will receive prizes, which have not yet been determined.

Cherney said she has already received applications for the Feb. 23 show.

Applications can be picked up at the Recreation and Parks office at 11 Longwell Ave. or online at http://www.westminstermd.gov under the "Recreation and Parks" tab. Applications must be submitted with a $15 entry fee by Feb. 1.

"I think people will be really interested in this and we'll have a good attendance," she said. "It's happening during downtime in the middle of winter, so it will give people something fun to participate in or to watch."

The Department of Recreation and Parks is still looking for businesses to sponsor this event, she said. To become a sponsor, call 410-848-9161.

Turgeon said the Feb. 23 Westminster's Got Talent competition will take place at Winter's Mill High School, although on all of the fliers printed about the event so far the locations is listed as the Longwell Municipal Center.

"Originally we had planned to hold the event here at our Longwell Municipal Center Gymnasium. However, because we want to be pro-active in encouraging and enabling all of our citizens to take part, we have decided to move Westminster's Got Talent to Winters Mill High School," she said. "Our handicapped lift is in the process of being repaired and while we expect work to be completed near or before the event, we want to take no chances in excluding any member of the public who would like to participate."

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