Nearly 70 local youths will compete Friday and Saturday for a slot in the final performance of the 21st annual Stars of Tomorrow scholarship program.
Hosted by the Cape Coral Council for Arts and Humanities, the program consists of a performing arts competition that results in school money for the winners and a final performance that features the best of the best.
Last month dozens of students auditioned to compete in the competition, which is spread over two days. The first group will compete at 7 p.m. Friday and the second batch of performers will hit the stage at 3 p.m. Saturday.
The event takes place at Cultural Park Theater.
"Our dedication these days is to support and help our youth in any way we can," June Sommerfield, director of the scholarship program and a member of the council, said. "These are trying times in our world - for everyone."
Sixty-eight youths will compete in the competition.
"That is a great number," she said, adding that they always have a lot of students audition. "We give as many a chance as we possibly can."
The first and second place winners in each age category and performance category will move on to the "command performance" at 3 p.m. Dec. 2.
First place winners also get $100 for school, while the runner-ups each get $75.
Approximately $2,600 will be awarded this year to the students.
Performance categories are vocal, drama, dance and instrumental. The age categories are college freshmen and elementary, middle and high school.
"We have more instrumental this year and dancers than we've ever had," Sommerfield said, adding that many who audition try out every year.
"They're all wonderful," she said. "Some of them have gone on to Hollywood - some of these kids, right now, are in Barbara B. Mann productions."
Five judges will decide who moves on to the Sunday performance.
"Every new judge that comes out says, 'I don't know how I'm going to pick a winner,'" Sommerfield said. "People don't realize how much talent there is in Southwest Florida."
"It's outstanding talent," she added.
Tickets are $5 per day for adults and $3 for children under age 12. They can be purchased in advance from the theater or at the theater day that day.
"They're supporting the youth that are out there doing a positive thing in their lives," Sommerfield said of why people should check it out.
Council President Dick Knapik will emcee the competition, and Fort Myers Beach Town Manager Terry Stewart will perform for the Sunday crowd.
Non-perishable food will be accepted for the Cape Coral Caring Center.
"They need it," she said. "There's a great need right now."
On Sunday, there will also be a 50/50 raffle and drawings for prizes. The raffle money will be split between the winner and the caring center.
Cultural Park Theater is at 528 Cultural Park Blvd.
For more information, call 772-5862.