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Stagestruck: No shortage of talent at Strawberry Fest show

Cassie Klinga, 19, took first place in both the Strawberry Fest Talent Show and the Minnesota Sings competition. She sang "Journey to the Past" from the musical "Anastasia." William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 4
Lauren Edlund, 12, shows her electric guitar to Strawberry Fest ambassadors prior to the June 14 Strawberry Fest talent show at Kingston Park. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 4
Kyley Tolbert, 14, of Cottage Grove, sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” while strumming a ukelele. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia 3 / 4
Averi Bednar, 12, took second place at the Strawberry Fest Talent Show with her reading of “Never Enough” from the movie “The Greatest Showman.” William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia 4 / 4

COTTAGE GROVE - Most of the year, they're your friends, classmates or neighbors. But on

June 14, about a dozen Cottage Grove residents assumed the guise of performing artists at the Strawberry Fest talent show.

Guitarists, singers and yes, a ukulele player all took their turn on the main stage at Kingston Park.

Park High School graduate Cassie Klinga took two firsts, winning both the Strawberry Fest Talent Show and the Minnesota Sings competitions.

"I just like singing a lot," she said.

Klinga, 19, is a musical theater major at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She sang "Journey to the past" from the musical "Anastasia."

Averi Bednar, 12, of Cottage Grove took second in the talent show with her spirited rendition of "Never Enough" from the movie "The Greatest Showman."

"I look a little past the crowd so I'm not overwhelmed with all the people," she said backstage prior to her performance.

Third place winner Becca Jorgenson overcame a technical glitch when her CD backing track malfunctioned. She sang a Barbra Streisand number.

Other performances included an instrumental guitar version of "American Idiot" by Green Day, performed by Lauren Edlund, 12. Kyley Tolbert, 14, of Cottage Grove, sang the Elvis Presley chestnut "Can't Help Falling in Love" while accompanying herself on ukulele.

Hailey Trzebiatowski, 14, strummed a guitar and sang an original song, "Moments that Made Me." Kelly Zidon, a father of three and an electrical engineer, played guitar and sang "I Will Wait" by Mumford and Sons.

"The nerves can be a little tricky," he said.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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