Cherry-Oke provides talent showcase

Donelle Pardee Whiting
Judging fun: Even the judges had fun at the Cherry-Oke competition at the 2007 Washington Cherry Festival. They are, from left, Dr. Heather McTaggart, Nathan Domenighini, Matt Moehle, Amanda Gordon and the 2006 winner, Joni Allen.

With the return of festival season, songbirds and karaoke lovers will have a chance to showcase their talents and possibly win some cash.

The Washington Times-Reporter Cherry-Oke contest will return to the Washington Cherry Festival May 30.

Justin Adams of Washington, who competed last year, said he had a lot of fun.

Adams made it to the final round.

“I thought a lot of the people who sang last year were solid,” Adams said, adding that he will be unable to compete this year.

Adams offered a bit of advice to this year’s contestants. “Be yourself. If you like (a certain type of music) don’t be afraid to sing it.”

Adams added that contestants should not be afraid to play to the crowd.

“More than anything, love what you do. If you don’t love your performance, it will show,” Adams said.

Adams, who is an avid karaoke fan, said he really appreciates that the Washington Cherry Festival has this type of opportunity.

“People who don’t have the opportunity to perform on a big stage have the opportunity to feel like a star,” he said, adding that it is “a really cool experience to be under the lights with the crowd cheering. It feels like you’re on American Idol.”

Although Adams will be unable to compete this year, he said he will keep his fingers crossed for this year’s competitors.

Matt Moehle, one of last year’s judges, said he had a great time at the competition.

“There was a lot of good talent and I really enjoyed sitting there and listening, Moehle said, adding he also enjoyed sharing laughs with the other judges.

Moehle said he would welcome another opportunity to be a judge this year.

This year’s Cherry-Oke will be May 30 on the CEFCU main stage.

The preliminary rounds will be from 5 to 9 p.m. The finals will be at about 9:15 p.m., following the announcement of the Good Neighbor Award and fireworks.

The first-place winner will receive $250. The second-place prize is $100 and third place nets $50.