Though the heyday of Coney Island’s sideshow acts has passed, the Coney Island Talent Show allows them to shine for one evening a year.
The boardwalk talent show, which will hold its sixth edition Saturday, features performers age 9 and older singing, dancing and sword swallowing. And, according to organizer Jen Gapay, it does more than entertain — it brings the community together.
“When we started it, we wanted to do something that involved the community and was a draw to all age groups; appealing to kids and adults,” she said. “It’s really just a lot of fun, a colorful event to have on the beach.”
Dozens of performers will showcase their talents in front of a panel of judges including “Mayor of Coney Island” Dick Zigun and comedians Bob Greenberg and Amber Martin.
Split into age categories of 9 to 12, 13 to 17, and 18 plus, the array of entertainers will be competing for a first-place prize of $250, a second-place prize of $100, and a third-place prize of $50. Each honor includes tickets to Coney Island rides and the competition is heavy.
“We get hula hoop acts, sideshow acts, sword swallowers, jugglers, we’ve even had snake dancers,” Gapay said. “We had a little girl dance with a snake — she was probably 10.”
The free talent show will take place on Saturday on the Coney Island boardwalk from 4-8 p.m.