Art Camp participants and volunteers gather onstage at the Rex Theater. (The Enterprise/Yadira Lopez)

VALE – The 105-year-old wooden stage at the historic Rex Theater is prepped for this year’s Talent Show, organized by the Drexel H. Foundation. The annual event is free and set for 7 p.m. this Thursday, Aug. 8.

This Wednesday, participants can register and attend a mandatory dress rehearsal at the theater starting at 6:15 p.m.

There is no fee to participate, but contestants must register and put on a family-friendly show.

In the past, locals have belted tunes, shown off dance moves, cracked jokes and even performed magic.

There are four age categories: 4-11, 12-14, 15-19 and adults 20 and over.

First-place winners in each category get a $100 cash prize. All participants walk away with a sack full of prizes and gift certificates, said Sandijean Fuson, foundation president.

“The most important thing is that you just try,” Fuson told a group of kids Monday at the Rex.

The talent show caps off an annual three-day art camp held by the foundation. This year's camp kicked off Monday and runs through Wednesday, Aug. 7 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Since 1995, youth have gathered at the Rex Theater for free workshops on theater, dance and visual arts.

This year’s camp featured filmmaking classes, crafts and dance lessons. Fuson, a Vale attorney, and other members of the foundation board who also work in law conceived the idea after brainstorming ways to keep kids entertained as the summer winds down.

“The summer is when kids are antsy and most at risk for getting in trouble,” Fuson said.

At the camp Monday, she reminded participants that the first rule of Art Camp was to have fun.

“This is a place where you are important, you matter,” Fuson said, as the kids sat on the theater chairs. And with that, they were off to break a leg.

Reporter Yadira Lopez: 541-473-3377 or yadira@malheurenterprise.com.

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