Main Event finale
Talented residents turn out for last feature
Organizers say attendance at the events, held monthly, grew all summer
Though the threat of rain pre-empted the actual showing of The Princess Bride, the final Main Event outdoor movie screening of the season Sept. 20 showcased the talent of Bexley youth.
The first-ever "Bexley's Got Talent" show, which was scheduled to take place before the movie presentation, ended up being the "main event" for guests. Fifteen acts, including a band assembled by Mayor Ben Kessler, took the stage that was set up on Capital University's lawn facing East Main Street.
The talent show featured vocalists, instrumentalists, dancers, a "beatboxer" and one contestant who performed a hula-hoop routine to music.
"We started off with a couple acts signed up to begin with. We were a little nervous that we wouldn't have great participation. The last few days of the open enrollment period, we had a ton of acts that came forward," Kessler said. "There's such a diversity and such a broad amount of fantastic talent in Bexley."
Kessler said he put together his group, Ben's Bexley Basement Band Wagon Wheel, to fill out the program when it seemed there wouldn't be enough entries. The group sang John Denver's Country Roads, substituting the phrase "Bexley Main Street" for the lyric "West Virginia."
The band featured volunteers who helped organize this year's inaugural Main Event series.
One of those volunteers was Lori Ann Feibel, a longtime community volunteer. Feibel said the Main Event's attendance grew over the summer.
"On a cold night in May, we had 300," she said. "By August, our movie vendor thinks we had close to 800."
While attendance was down slightly Sept. 20 because of the weather forecast, the rain held off and the talent show went off without a hitch.
The show featured "students being brave and showing their talent," Feibel said.
Serving as judges for the talent show were Mitch Stith, Capital University student body president; musician Joel Oliphant; and George Schwindt, drummer for the band Flogging Molly.
The judges awarded titles such as "Most Likely to Succeed," which went to Bexley High School freshman Benjamin Martin.
Martin, whose beatboxing drew one of the strongest reactions from the crowd, said he learned the vocal craft after coming across it on the Internet.
"I was very impressed, so I decided I was going to learn this," he said. "There was this whole set of tutorials, this big community on the Internet, and it just progressed from there."
Bexley High School sophomore Matthew Persaud was named "Most Likely to Grace the Cover of Modern Drummer." Persaud said he is self-taught, and performing in front of the Main Event crowd helped him overcome anxiety.
"I was a little bit scared because during the sound check we weren't exactly prepared," he said. "Once I got onstage, I wasn't exactly all that confident, but once I got through it, it kind of built up my confidence."
The Main Event launched this year with the help of funding from the Bexley Community Foundation. Organizers plan to seek funding sources to continue the event next year, Feibel said.
"It was such an amazing way to get the community all together," she said. "I think it was a real community-builder."