The Upper Ohio Valley is full of talent. Some have developed their culinary skills through years of practice, while others have picked up a craft or trade and are able to construct projects of various sizes. Still others have concentrated on the arts, whether through painting, writing or even music.
Any opportunity to showcase those talents should be used and appreciated. That is part of the idea behind an event being established this year as part of Weirton's Independence Day celebrations.
July 4 will begin with the annual community parade, showcasing dozens upon dozens of local community organizations, businesses, high schools, dance schools and others marching down Main Street.
Unlike in years past, however, the parade will not be followed by a community festival. Instead, Renaissance Weirton, which has put on the festival for about a decade, has opted to put together a showcase of some of the area's musical talent by launching an event called Band Blast. The idea is that four area bands will be selected to perform for a panel of judges. Bands will be scored and awarded prize money based on their finishing positions.
There, of course, is the opportunity for residents to get involved as the audience gathered that evening will act as the fourth judge, being able to cast their vote in exchange for a $1 donation.
The winner of Band Blast will receive $1,000 and a spot on the schedule of the 2015 Weirton Summer Concert series at the Weirton Event Center. Second place will receive $500, with third and fourth each getting $250.
The event will be followed by a performance by local musical group Legend and then capped off by the community fireworks show.
There are many bands in our region. Some are reaching for the brass ring, hoping to eventually land a record deal, tour the country and make it in the big time. Others are fine with playing in their neighborhood hangouts or just jamming at home. Either way, they should be heard and appreciated for their ability.
Up to four bands will be selected to play, and there is still some time to apply. You have until May 12 to submit an application for the opportunity to participate.
Just send your information, including the completed application, a CD or DVD or website link with examples of your work to Millicent Zack, care of the Mayor's Office, 200 Municipal Plaza, Weirton, WV 26062. If you have questions, you can contact Alecia Ford at the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau by calling (304) 797-7003.
There are so many great bands in our area, some have been performing together for years, while others may just be starting out.
Whether you are a veteran group or a group of high school friends playing together for only a short time, here is a chance to show what you can do.
Talent of all kinds should be shared, and what better way to let people see that talent than to perform?
And, if you are chosen to perform, feel free to bring all of your friends along. The more the merrier. Besides, the bigger the crowd you bring, the better chance you have of winning.
And, if not, then it is an opportunity to get out on a summer evening and listen to some great music.
This can be a great event, not just to showcase some of our local musical talent, but also for the community to get together and enjoy an event as families, friends and neighbors. I often hear people talking about how there is not enough to do in our area. Well, this is one more event for everyone to enjoy.
Our area has numerous events, whether it be the concert series featured in some of our towns, our local festivals, activities put together by local civic groups, parks and other recreational sites, athletic events and much more.
All it takes is to look around and there is sure to be something you will enjoy.
The launch of the new Renaissance Weirton Band Blast is simply another in the long list of great events being put together for our residents.
(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)