Grove City's Arts in the Alley festival has added a new component to the artistic modes it celebrates.

This year's festival will include the Voice of Grove City, a live talent competition for vocalists.

Arts in the Alley will feature more than 100 artists from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, along Broadway and Park Street in Grove City's Town Center.

The Voice of Grove City competition will span three rounds over three days and will feature individual singers and duos ages 13 and up.

"We thought it would be a nice addition to Arts in the Alley because music is a wonderful art form. Art can be more than just what you can see; it's also music you can hear," said Shawn Conrad, executive director of the Grove City Chamber of Commerce, which presents the annual festival.

"We wanted to reach out and encourage the participation of other types of artists, in this case singers, and encourage people's appreciation of that type of talent," said Trent Soles, a member of the chamber's board of directors who is helping coordinate the competition.

Soles' son, Blake, will serve as the master of ceremonies. Blake Soles has entered several national singing contests, including "The Voice," "X-Factor" and "American Idol." His audition was broadcast on "American Idol" in 2014. He has also won state competitions including "The Voice of Ohio."

Contestants could enter audition videos for the contest through Sept. 15, Conrad said.

The competition is open to "singers from anywhere, not just from the Grove City area," Soles said.

The top 25 entrants will perform in a quarterfinal round at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at the First Baptist Church of Grove City, 3301 Orders Road. The quarterfinal round is open to the public; admission is $5.

The 15 entrants receiving the top scores will participate in the semifinals from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, on the Heartland Stage at Arts in the Alley.

A final round with five contestants will take place from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, on the Heartland Stage.

"It's our own version of 'American Idol' or 'The Voice,' but the difference between this competition and the TV contests is that the TV shows are more about being entertaining and drawing viewers and not necessarily about who's the best singer," Soles said.

Contestants will be judged based on vocal ability, pitch, performance, interaction with the audience and judges and presentation, he said.

"The winner will be determined by the number of points they accumulate over the course of the three rounds," Soles said.

Top prize is $2,500, second prize is $500 and third prize is $150, Conrad said.

Arts in the Alley will feature visual artists from across Ohio, several states and as far away as Argentina, said Marilyn Reiner, events coordinator for the chamber.

The festival will kick off at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, with the Arts in the Alley Community Parade, which is co-sponsored by the Grove City Girls Club.

The parade begins at Southwest Boulevard and Broadway and travels south down Broadway, heads east to Columbus Street and then south on Wilbur before ending at Park Street Intermediate School.

Artists participating in the festival were selected through a juried process, Conrad said.

Fine arts, photography and craft shows will be held at City Hall, 4035 Broadway. A youth arts show will take place in mayor's court at the city's safety complex, 3360 Park St., and a display of quilts will be open at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3220 Columbus St.

The artists and craft makers will display and sell their works in tents set up along Broadway and Park Street in Grove City's Town Center.

The fest draws visitors from all over Columbus and outside central Ohio, Reiner said.

"The police estimated that between 30,000 and 40,000 people attended the festival last year," Conrad said. "I think what draws people, beside the wonderful location in the Town Center, is that we present artists whose work is not flavor of the moment or 'trendy' but the kind of work that has lasting appeal."

Saturday's schedule will include performances by the Grove City and Central Crossing high school marching bands on Park Street, east of the old library, and the Jackson Middle School and Grove City High School show choirs on the Heartland Stage. The festival awards will be presented at 3 p.m. Sunday on the Heartland Stage, followed by a performance by Central Crossing High School's show choir.

A children's craft activity area will be available both days, along with a tent where artists will give demonstrations "and plenty of food," Reiner said.

A shuttle service will be offered from the corner of Southwest Boulevard and Broadway to the festival site and to St. John's Church, Conrad said.

Arts in the Alley is marking its 40th anniversary and the parade its 30th year in 2019, she said. For more information, go to gcchamber.org.

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