Talent takes center stage at Kid Fest

Trazon Jimerson, 4, of Cannon Air Force Base climbs through a blow-up tunnel Saturday afternoon at Kid Fest at Clovis High School. (Staff photo: John Eisel)

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

She’s a seasoned performer — but Amy Carter is only 8 years old. In a red polka dotted shirt, her hair in curls, she belted out an old gospel favorite, “Let’s All Go Down to the River.” Her audience, assembled for the Kid Fest 2005 Talent Show, a main event Saturday at a festival tailored for Clovis youth, listened attentively.

“It’s a song I sang when I played with a band at the Floyd Jamboree,” said Amy, on her mother’s lap, her grown-up singing voice and her grown-up diction analogous.

“She’s been singing since she was 4. Living in this community, country music and Christian music just make you feel good,” said mother Christie Carter of her daughter’s vocal performance.

The show’s judges, three community members who were given the task of ranking the competitors, said making distinctions among the performances, mostly vocal with a few dance routines and one gymnastics showcase, was not an easy job. But for judge Nick Mondragon of the Clovis-Curry County Chamber of Commerce, one performance stood out — that of Young Drew, the stage name of 11-year-old Andrew Dixon, a rapper who pens his own socially conscious lyrics.

“He did it to honor a grandparent,” Mondragon said of Young Drew’s rap, a homage to his deceased grandfather. “That was touching.”

Another hit at Kid Fest 2005 — cotton candy. Scores of children circled booths, each sponsored by a different company or entity, at the Clovis High School practice field with fists clenched around sticks of the blue and pink candy.

“I just might go back for more,” said Nathan Jolly, accompanied by his grandmother.

Also at Saturday’s event were pony rides by Wendy Toombs, owner of Abrazos Adventure, courtesy of three ponies, Midnight, Pepper and Star, and one miniature horse, Red.

“One little girl was terrified,” said Toombs, who is used to similar reactions among novice pony riders. “But we got her to stay on for the first round,” around the macadam parking lot, “and when she got off, she was actually smiling.”

A talking, stuffed dog named Patches, seated in a red fire engine and animated by Clovis Fire Department member Bill Baca, also entertained Saturday’s bevy of youngsters, along with an improvised aim game created by Play Inc. employee Sheila Holley in which lines of children practiced throwing a football into the ring of an inflatable tube, as Holley playfully goaded on the pint-sized athletes.

Talent show winners:
• Ages 3-5: Sebastian Nunez and Chloe Everett (tied)
• Ages 6-8: Amy Carter
• Ages 9-12: Young Drew (Dixon) and Cynthia Espinoza (tied)