The proclamation recognizes the accomplishments of the 27-year-old non-profit group, as a “youth-oriented organization that has enriched the lives of so many and promoted community service using entertainment as the vehicle.”
National finals competition has been held in Branson for more than a decade and this year more than 150 will be competing at the Baldknobbers Theater beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. The young performers have been preparing since January and at nationals they will compete for more than $9,000 in cash and prizes and the title of Performer of the Year.
The acts will be judged by an impressive slate of national and celebrity judges and an awards ceremony will be held Friday at 9:30 a.m. during which member of the year for community service, college scholarship recipients and the top 25 acts will be announced. Those top 25 will compete in the AllStar Show also at the Baldknobbers Theater at 2 p.m. on Friday. One winner will be selected as Performer of the Year and receive a $1,500 cash prize and the opportunity to guest star on the Penny Gilley Show on RFD TV. Tickets to the show are $10 and available at the door.
Wednesday has been dedicated to performance workshops rather than competition.
“Before American Idol, Star Search and America’s Got Talent, American Kids Inc. has been showcasing the nation’s talented young performers for 27 years,” said Dr. Dale Smith, founder of the non-profit group based in Branson.
In addition to competition, the national finalists will be performing on various other stages. On July 12, 13 and 18, young performers will be at the Grand Village 2-3 p.m. July 12; 4-5 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. July 13; and 11 a.m.-noon and 5-6 p.m. July 18. On July 14 and 16, they will be performing at Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop on the dock at Branson Landing 1:30-3:30 p.m. both days.
American Kids will be featured in pre-shows on July 14 at Hamner Barber Variety Theatre and on July 16 at the Baldknobbers Theatre. Pre-shows are expected to begin about 7:15 p.m.
The entertainer judged as the top performer in the gospel category will be invited to perform on July 19 at the 10 a.m. Grand Old Gospel Hour at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater.
The proclamation from the mayor’s office said, “Branson is honored and proud to be the host for this competition that serves to gather young performers and their families to make a difference in the world and have fun together.”
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