Has Westmeath got talent?

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI ), in conjunction with Smithwick’s, is giving the Westmeath public the chance to showcase their talent in the ‘Stars of our Bars’ pub talent competition, kicking off this month at a pub near you.

Six Westmeath pubs will take part in the ‘Stars of our Bars’ competition, with a total prize fund of ?50,000 at stake. If you long for the glitz and glamour of a showbiz career, the all-encompassing talent competition will run in The Prince Bar, Athlone; Auld Shebeen, Moate; Annebrook House Hotel, Mullingar; The Old Stand, Mullingar; The Yukon Bar/ The Stables, Mullingar; and Hotel Castlepollard in the coming months.

Designed to encourage hidden or more experienced performers to get involved, ‘Stars of our Bars’ county heats will commence mid-January 2010 and continue until the end of March. Each pub will have the chance to run up to eight competition heats, and finalists will be chosen from each participating county to be put forward to the provincial finals in April.

The lucky finalists who make it through the county and provincial stages of the competition will then take part in the grand final in May. The prize for the county winner will be ?1,000, while the all-Ireland winner will receive ?7,500.

Entry to the competition is free and aspiring entertainers can enter through their nearest participating pub. A full list of participating pubs can be found at www.vfi.ie

“We are delighted to be bringing a new and exciting talent competition to pubs across the country. We hope to see high numbers of existing and emerging talents enter at their local pub and really getting involved, said Val Hanley, president of the VFI.

“The pub is at the heart of the community and brings people together. What better than a talent competition to kick off the new year and bring a bit of excitement and entertainment to communities nationwide?”

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