Star Spangled Sparks festivities start at 6 a.m. today at the Sparks Marina with tethered balloon rides until 7 a.m. For those who didn’t have time to eat before rushing out the door to get in line for a balloon ride, the Kiwanis Club of North Valleys will host a pancake breakfast. Cost is $3 for all you can eat.
At 8 a.m., a 5k fun run/walk begins followed by the Model Dairy Milk Carton Boat Races launches at 9 a.m. At 10 a.m., a military opening ceremony will officially usher in a day filled with food, fun, entertainment and patriotism.
Then at 11 a.m., the annual Sparks Got Talent competition begins. Originally called Sparks Idol, the then-Sparks Chamber of Commerce started the event in 2004. Except for one time, the event has been coordinated by Cindy Fournier of JSCF Productions. Local acts compete in singing (young adult and adult), dancing, comedy and performance art categories for cash prizes.
Several performers are returning to the stage this year, including last year’s winner in the dance category. Dance crew Changes, founded and led by Leya Irugin, a 27-year-old employee of the accounting department at the Silver Legacy, will be performing an updated version of last year’s winning five-minute routine to a musical medley of 12 different songs. Four of the Crew’s five members are veterans of last year’s Sparks Got Talent competition; Irugin said one girl is a new member who joined just one month ago and had to quickly get up to speed for today’s show.
“Our routine is same thing but a little more creative and changed up a little more,” said Irugin, a Sparks High School graduate who still helps with the Railroaders’ dance team. “I wanted to show something on a different side because I know every year it’s going to be more competitive.”
Also returning to the Sparks Got Talent stage are singers Kayla Anderson and Kevin Keser. Anderson, a 14-year-old who will start her freshman year at Spanish Springs High School in the fall, will be competing in the young adult singing category. She will be performing the acoustic version of Katie Perry’s “Wide Awake.” The young lifelong singer said the idea to perform this song came to her when she heard it on the radio during a pool party last month. She hopes her talent will carry her far, as she hopes to audition next season for the TV contest show “American Idol.” Should singing not be in her career future, she has a backup plan.
“If that doesn’t work out I am going to be an attorney,” she said.
Keser already has auditioned for “American Idol,” and he was on three episodes of the sixth season of “America’s Got Talent.” Four years ago he won the young adult singing category with his rendition of “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” by Boyz II Men, and this year he will again take his smooth voice to the stage by singing “I Just Called To Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder.
The Reed High School graduate is studying to be an elementary school teacher at Truckee Meadows Community College, but he holds out hope that his career might yet involved singing.
“It’s something I love to do. I would really like to pursue music but I would rather have the opportunity fall in the right place at the right time,” Keser said.
The Sparks Marina is located at 300 Howard Drive.