Yoakum's Tom Tom festival rounds up local talent

June 4, 2011 at 1:04 a.m.

Nikki Vincent, a Luling woman, claps for other competitors in the talent show at the Tom Tom Festival in Yoakum.

Nikki Vincent, a Luling woman, claps for other competitors in the talent show at the Tom Tom Festival in Yoakum.

Crowds of people flooded Front Street, munching on a variety of treats sold by venders peddling food, clothes, art and pets in booths along the street.

An audience gathered under and around a tent in the middle of Front Street, where the first Tom Tom Talent Round-up of the annual Tom Tom Festival was held, opening with a selection by the band Seven Year Crush.

"I've never played to a crowd this big!" said Michael Turnini, 17, from Shiner who generally performs for friends or at bars in Shiner. Turnini performed the Chuck Ragan song "Open Up and Wail" for the competition.

Participants hailed from Yoakum and surrounding cities, including Victoria, Houston, Round Rock, Edna and Shiner.

The first 20 applicants for the first Tom Tom Talent Round-up paid a $20 fee to enter. Money raised goes to the Chamber of Commerce.

Contestants displayed their vocal talents with their choice of live music or an accompaniment track.

"There was a variety of music, including country, gospel, pop and rock," said Abbie Chilek of Yoakum National Bank. She says the musicians were encouraged to perform whatever they feel is their strongest area of vocal talent.

"Some of the musicians performed their own compositions," she said.

Kimberly Anderson, 17, of Yoakum has attended the Tom Tom Festival annually with her family "since she was a kid." A few weeks ago she debuted at her school's talent show, where she took second place. For the Tom Tom Festival, Anderson performed The Judds' "Grandpa Tell Me about the Good Old Days," changing the lyrics to dedicate it to her grandmother, Loraine McLerran.

"It's not my strongest song, but it was special," Anderson said. "I did it for her."

The master of ceremonies for the talent show was Chris Targac, and it was judged by Egon Barthels the DJ from KCTI AM 1450, Scott Taylor from Scott Taylor Band and Jeremy Bludau, runner-up in the Victoria livestock show karaoke contest and owner of Nest Sound studio in Victoria.

All contestants participate in the preliminary rounds, and the top five contestants performed again to be ranked for plaques and prizes totaling $1000 sponsored by Yoakum National Bank.

The festival also featured a parade, a beauty pageant, museum tours, a BBQ contest a car show, a horse shoe tournament, a roping contest, a salsa contest and a rodeo.

"We're just excited to be able to sponsor a new event for the Tom Tom Festival." said Darlene Renken, president of the Yoakum National Bank.

Loren Fraire, 27, of Victoria sang "On Time God" by The Tally Trio. Fraire has been singing since she was 12, but she has put public performance on hold for the past five years to get married and have her two children Jaeden, 4, and Haeden, 2.

"I'm really enjoying myself here at the festival," Fraire said. "It's a lot of fun."



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