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67th annual Strawberry Festival will feature a new talent show

The first-ever talent show is coming to the 67th annual Mattituck Strawberry Festival this year, according to festival chairman Michael O’Donnell.

“Bottom line for me is to give an opportunity for individuals to kind of showcase their talent within the community,” Mr. O’Donnell said. 

In advance of the festival, there will be an open call for prospective talent show participants at North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck on Sunday, June 5, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The call is open to people of all ages, both group and solo acts, who reside in Southold and Riverhead towns and on Shelter Island. All talents are welcome, including singing, instrumental performance, dancing and comedy, according to a flyer for the event. 

The event will have two divisions: the “Inspiring Group” for those age 15 and under and the “Sassy Group” for those age 16 and up, according to Mr. O’ Donnell.

Six acts will be chosen to perform for each division in the talent show finals, to be held Thursday, June 16, at the festival, Mr. O’Donnell said. Each performer will be given a slot of about five minutes, totaling around an hour for each division. 

The Mattituck Lions Club had considered inaugurating the talent show in 2020 but the pandemic prevented that from happening, Mr. O’Donnell said. Because the focus of the event is to highlight local talent, it was decided that Thursday night would be the best timing for the event.

“We needed to have something for Thursday; that’s still, quite candidly ,a very strong local type of day, as opposed to people driving in,” Mr. O’Donnell said. “I really liked the idea because I wanted to add a little bit more of that local culture to the event.” 

Apart from talent, the level of confidence will also play an important role in how each participant does in the contest, according to Christian DiGirolamo of Mattituck, one of the judges for the event.

“I think it’s really more so just the confidence and the talent,” Mr. DiGirolamo said. “I think if you put those two things together, you can kind of get in there, you can win.”

Mr. DiGirolamo said that, for him, this event represents the opportunity for all participants to find themselves in music and performance.

“I always look back on how playing music and performing saved me,” Mr. DiGirolamo said. “It gives the kids an outlet for self-growth. It goes way beyond music, or performing.” 

The 67th annual Mattituck Strawberry Festival will run June 15-19. For specific daily schedules and more information visit mattituckstrawberryfestival.org.