PERU - It's an event that's been five years in the making.
Make-A-Wish Idol will celebrate its fifth anniversary as it returns to Murphy's Tavern in two weeks. The event, which raises money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeast New York, has raised thousands of dollars to help grant wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses.
Alyssa Rosio, owner of Absolute Entertainment DJ and Karaoke Services, Au Sable Forks, said she got the idea for the contest after participating in a similar event modeled after the popular Fox television show American Idol.
"I had a lot of fun as a spectator and a contestant, so I wanted to try and do it," said Rosio. "And, it's just grown every year."
The first year Make-A-Wish Idol was held at Murphy's, the competition raised $8,000. However, the event's largest year was its third, when nearly $20,000 was raised in 2008.
That's what Rosio kept in mind when this year's event almost didn't happen. Traditionally, Make-A-Wish Idol is held in the spring but, due to other obligations, Rosio wasn't able to host the event earlier this year.
"As the year wandered on, I was trying to decide whether or not to still [host the event]," said Rosio.
"But, then I thought about how that's a big chunk of funding they're going to miss out on if we don't do something."
Though Rosio had hoped to hold the event in April, she's still optimistic there will be a good turnout during this time of year.
"Whatever we raise is more than they had, is how I look at it," said Rosio.
Ultimately, Rosio decided the event will live on this year, though in an abbreviated format. Instead of making Make-A-Wish Idol an eight-week event, the competition will be held for four weeks, every Friday at 6:30 p.m. from Oct. 15-Nov. 5.
The competition will again include cash prizes for top contestants and be rounded out by silent auctions and raffles between performances.
"That's where we make most of our money," said Rosio.
The event relies heavily on donations from the community toward the auctions and raffles, which Rosio said she is now actively pursuing. The generosity she's seen in the last four years is something she hopes will continue this year, she said.
"It's just so amazing to me to see what people are willing to donate and do to help. I've had many of the same people coming to this event for the last four years," she said. "And, these aren't people who are flashing around thousands of dollars. These are regular people who probably don't have the money to be spending, but they do it to help. It's just a very powerful event."
There is no cost to watch Make-A-Wish Idol at Murphy's, though the cost to enter the competition is $10. Participating or watching, either way, Rosio said she'd like to see as many people turn out as possible.
"Even though Murphy's Tavern is a bar and restaurant, it is very much a family-oriented event," Rosio emphasized. "We actually usually get more children contestants than adults. We get lots of kids."
For more information about Make-A-Wish Idol, contact Rosio at 420-5372 or firstname.lastname@example.org.