Ellie Dow of Chatham performs at the 2016 Columbia County Fair. This year’s edition of “Columbia County’s Got Talent” takes to the stage on opening day, Aug. 30 at the fairgrounds in Chatham.

CHATHAM – Performers of all ages are encouraged to enter the annual talent competition on Aug. 30 at noon on opening day of the 177th annual Columbia County Fair, according to fair officials.

Performers from singers to dancers to bands and more are wanted for the “Columbia County’s Got Talent” show Wednesday, Aug. 30 at noon at the North Gate Stage. Juniors will perform first at noon followed by teens at 2:30 p.m. and adults at 5 p.m. Performances should not be longer than five minutes. The top six performers in each division will return to the stage at 7 that evening for the final competition and awards ceremony. The finalists will be competing for the Marilyn Barry Memorial Award that will be presented, along with two runners up, in each division. Performers are invited to apply in any of the three divisions: Junior, age 12 and under; Teen, age 13-19 years; and Adult, age 20 and older. Prizes for each division will be awarded for: First place, a trophy and $100; Second place with a ribbon and $75; and Third place, a ribbon and $50. “Electric Blue DJ Service” with Bob Hawley is the disc jockey for the talent competition which will be emceed by The Lofgren Agency President/Owner Kirk Kneller. The Lofgren Agency of Chatham is the sponsor of the talent show.

“The number of performers increases each year,” said Betsy Braley, Talent Competition Superintendent. “It’s wonderful to see new talent and to watch performers come back each year, even more accomplished than the year before.” A 20-foot by 20-foot dance floor for dance performers is a recent addition to the competition’s stage.

Criteria for each division is judged on voice, dance or instrumental quality, voice dynamics and articulation, dance and instrumental precision, stage presence, overall performance and audience appeal. The initial competition at noon is a qualifying round for each division. All contestants who receive 20 or more points will qualify for the final competition at 7 p.m. A perfect score is 25 points.

Individual contestants must be Columbia County residents or live in a neighboring county that does not currently have a talent competition at their county fair. Contestants must be amateurs and cannot be under contract for reimbursement for performance at the fair, be professionals or union members, according to Braley. All prizewinners will be eligible to compete at the New York State Fair in Syracuse. Contest details for the state fair competition may be found at www.nysfair.org.

There is no fee to enter the contest and entries may be dropped off at the Fair Office at the fairgrounds located at Routes 203 and 66 here or mailed to the Columbia County Agricultural Society, Talent Competition, P.O. Box 257, Chatham NY 12037 by August 20. If there are multiple performers in an act, each person is required to fill out an entry form. Forms are available at the Fair Office or online at www.columbiafair.com. Interested performers may also check www.facebook.com/ColumbiaCountysGotTalent for more information.

The 177th annual Columbia County Fair runs this year from August 30 to Labor Day, September 4 daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., except for opening day when the gates open at noon. The fair is presented by the Columbia County Agricultural Society, a private nonprofit organization.