McHenry County Fair 2024

2024 Talent Contest

Show off your skills at the McHenry County Fair's Talent Contest!

Step into the spotlight at the McHenry County Fair’s thrilling talent contest! Show off your skills, dazzle the crowd, and seize your moment of fame on stage. Join us for a celebration of talent and creativity like no other!

Entry Fee:

$7.00 per act

Semi-Finals Judging Time:

Sunday, July 28, 2024 

Juniors 10:00 am | Seniors 1:00 pm

Finals Judging Time:

Friday, August 2, 2024 

Juniors 7:00 pm | Seniors 8:30 pm

Contest Rules and Information

  1. Any individual who is 21 years of age or younger who lives in or attends school in McHenry County is eligible to participate in the contest as an individual performer or in a group act. First place winners of the 2023 contest are ineligible to compete in their same division until 2025.
  2. If you were born on or after September 1, 2009, you will compete in the Junior Division. If you were born between August 3, 2002 and August 31, 2009, you will compete in the Senior Division. Proof of age may be required. Group entries will be placed in the division according to the oldest member and all members must meet eligibility requirements.
  3. The Semi-Finals competition will be held Sunday, July 28, 2024 at the Hansen Pavilion, McHenry County Fairgrounds, Country Club Road and Route 47, Woodstock, Illinois. The Junior Division begins at 10:00 a.m. and the Senior Division begins at 1:00 p.m. Contestants must be present at the beginning of their division’s competition. The Semi-Finals competition is NOT to be considered the same as an open audition. Your act should be fully rehearsed, costumed and ready for presentation at that time. You may arrive in costume or there are facilities where you may dress before you perform.
  4. The judges will select eight final acts from each division’s Semi-Finals competition. These acts will then compete in the Finals competition.
  5. The Finals competition will be held on Friday, August 2, 2024 at the Hansen Pavilion. The Junior Division will begin at 7:00 p.m. followed by the Senior Division at 8:30 p.m. Finalists should plan to be there at least ó hour before your respective division begins.
  6. All entries MUST be in the fair office by Friday, July 26, 2024. There is a $7.00 entry fee for each act to participate in the contest. Entries can NOT be accepted at the Semi-Finals. The talent committee is not responsible for the post office misplacing or detaining your entry. If it is getting close to the deadline, please drop off your entry at the fair office: 11900 Country Club Road in Woodstock.
  7. All judges have been selected from qualified individuals with expertise in the performing arts. Semi-Finals judges will not judge the Finals competition. All Finals judges are selected from outside the county.
  8. Each act will be judged in the following six categories. A perfect score is 100.
    • Entertainment Value = 30 points
    • Natural Ability = 30 points
    • Appearance = 10 points
    • Audience Contact = 10 points
    • Choice of Material = 10 points
    • Showmanship = 10 points
  9. It is recommended that an act run no more than 3 minutes and under no circumstances run more than 4 minutes. Any act longer than 4 minutes at either the Semi-Finals or Finals competitions will be disqualified. Setup time is limited to 5 minutes. The timing of your act begins when your music starts, you make your first movement, or you speak to the audience. Timing stops when your act is fully completed.
  10. You may only participate in one act and one division. Accompanists may participate in only one act per division. All persons assuming visual importance in the act must meet eligibility requirements.
  11. All members of an act, including all accompaniment, MUST be present and participate in the Semi-Finals.
  12. NO voices, synthesized voices or vocal utterances are allowed on any pre-recorded accompaniment used by a vocal act. NO taps or tap effects are allowed on a recording used by a dancer. In an instrumental solo, the only accompaniment allowed is a live or pre-recorded acoustical piano. In piano solo, no accompaniment is allowed. In the use of any electronic keyboard, the contestant must create all sounds live on stage.
  13. Performance order for both the Semi-Finals and Finals is chosen on a random number drawing by the contestants at the Semi-Finals competition.
  14. The size of the stage is 13 feet deep by 27 feet wide. Electrical outlets, hand-held corded microphones, lighting, and an electrical keyboard will be furnished. Please notify the talent contest committee if you have any special needs. You need to supply your own musical accompaniment. A sound system will be available for use with connections for MP3 players and Smartphones.
  15. A rehearsal workshop will be held a week before the Semi-Finals on Saturday, July 20, 2024 at 12:00 p.m. at the Hansen Pavilion. The workshop will give you a chance to see the stage, rehearse your act and ask questions. Qualified individuals will be there to help you and give suggestions on how to improve and polish your act. A short talk will be given on what the judges will be looking for. An explanation of the judging categories and helpful hints will be shared. It is not mandatory that you attend, but HIGHLY recommended (especially to those contestants participating for the first time).
  16. Parents, teachers, and family members are encouraged to participate with act preparations by attending the rehearsal workshop and Semi-Finals competition
  17. The first, second, and third place winners of each Finals competition will receive $200, $150, and $100 respectively.
  18. In the event the first place act cannot perform at any scheduled time, the runner-up will be invited to attend.
  19. For further information, contact Kathy Thomas at 815-245-6085 or e-mail her at
  20. To enter, completely fill out the attached Official Entry Form and mail it along with your $7.00 entry fee to:
    McHenry County Fair Talent Contest
    P.O. Box 375
    Woodstock, IL 60098

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