By Steve Hubrecht

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The Columbia Valley Talent Show is back, after a decades-long pause.

The talent show was once a staple of the valley’s events calendar, featuring a variety of local performers doing all kinds of acts. But in the early 1990s the remaining show organizers found themselves juggling too many volunteer commitments and the show was discontinued. Now, 28 years later, it’s set for a comeback.

Invermere resident, Bill Ark, is one of the former talent show organizers and has teamed up with Heather McLeod to revive the tradition.

Ark told the Pioneer that the inspiration to hold the talent show again came partly because he has a bit more time to volunteer these days, and partly because he wants to foster community spirit. “I was trying to think of ways to re-kindle the community spirit a bit, and the talent show seemed a way to maybe do that,” he said.

The talent show used to be quite the event, bringing almost the whole town together and packing the old community hall full of spectators and performers. “It was all ages, little kids, seniors, families, everybody,” said Ark, adding the atmosphere was as fun as it gets.

The Columbia Valley Talent Show revival is slated to happen in a month’s time – on Sunday, March 12 – at the Columbia Valley Centre. 

Invermere councillors readily and unanimously agreed during their most recent council meeting to give Ark and McLeod use of the centre at nonprofit rates.

“Events like this — that is exactly why this facility was created,” Taft said during the council meeting, before wryly suggesting it would be fitting if Invermere mayor Al Miller would commit to doing an act on behalf of council. Miller laughed at the notion but politely declined, citing a lack any particular talent worthy of sharing with an audience.

“It’s a great opportunity for local entertainers to show their stuff. It’s not just for musicians,” Ark told the Pioneer. 

The show will run from 2 to 4 p.m. — a slot organizers chose specifically to make the event family- and seniors-friendly.

“This is not a contest. It is not competitive at all,” said Ark. “It doesn’t matter what your age is or what your talent is, or even if you are good or bad. It’s all about having fun.” 

Admission will be free, but to help offset expenses, organizers may pass around a hat for donations after the show.

So far, seven or eight performers have confirmed they will be part of the show, but Ark and McLeod are looking for more.

“Bring your talent and share it with the community. Come join the fun,” said Ark.