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$10,000 prize at stake in State Fair Amateur Talent Contest

The 2012 State Fair Amateur Talent Contest celebrates 40 years of showcasing Minnesota's top talent and most outstanding performers. In honor of this special celebration, new sponsor Jack Link's has added a $10,000 Grand Prize, along with thousands of dollars in additional cash and prizes. Entries are accepted for all age groups and categories are: Open Division, for any age; Teen Division, ages 13-18; and Preteen Division, ages 12 and under.

Special Celebration Prize Packages in this year's talent contest include:

• Open Division Grand Prize: $10,000, grand prize trophy, one-year's worth of Jack Link's Jerky and a coveted golden Sasquatch trophy

• Open Division 2nd and 3rd Place: Cash prizes, trophies and exclusive Jack Link's Prize Packs filled with Jack Link's Jerky, apparel and more

• Teen and Pre-Teen Divisions 1st Place: $2,000, trophies and exclusive Jack Link's Prize Packs filled with Jack Link's Jerky, apparel and more

"We're proud to be a part of the 40th Annual Minnesota State Fair Amateur Talent Contest. The good, clean fun of the talent competition aligns with the light-hearted spirit of the Jack Link's brand," said Jeff LeFever, Marketing Director, Jack Link's Beef Jerky. "We hope folks from far and wide will stop by to watch the talented competitors Feed Their Wild Side during this year's competition."

Auditions run Monday, July 23 through Sunday, July 29 at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell on the State Fairgrounds. The public is invited to attend audition sessions, which begin at 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. From auditions, semifinalists will be selected to perform during this year's Minnesota State Fair.

During the first 10 days of the fair, semifinals will be held at 6 p.m. nightly at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell. Winners from the semifinals will compete in the finals at 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2 at the Grandstand. Entry to the Amateur Talent Contest Finals is free with your State Fair admission ticket. Guitar soloist Connor Engstrom of Mountain Lake, Minn. who took the grand prize in 2011 will return to the Grandstand stage on finals night for an encore performance.

Participants are encouraged to register for auditions at For more information, please call (651) 288-4395 or email

The 2012 Minnesota State Fair runs Thursday, Aug. 23 through Labor Day, Sept. 3.