‘Mr. Steve’s Talent Show’ Helps Ease Pain of Summer’s End

first_imgFirst Street residents gather around the makeshift “stage” to watch an act in the 11th annual Mr. Steve’s 1st Street Talent Show on Saturday, Sept. 5.Labor Day brought near-perfect beach weather to Ocean City and a melancholy feeling to all those who realized that yet another summer has passed too quickly.But one neighborhood has come up with a unique way to cherish the end of the season.The residents of the 800 and 900 blocks of First Street participated in “Mr. Steve’s 1st Street Talent Show” on Saturday evening.The event brings together “a very close-knit summer family,” according to Steve Sands, the show’s namesake and founder. The show is staged in his driveway and attracts about 100 people.Steve Sands, 51, of the 800 block of First Street, serves as the emcee and organizer of the talent show that bears his name.Sands started the event 11 years ago as a way to give the kids in the neighborhood something to look forward to … and something to remember through the winter.Each goes home with a T-shirt and a DVD that includes a musical slideshow of images taken throughout the summer.The show brings together year-round and summer residents, vacationers, and friends and relatives of each — a network of acquaintances who share a love of summer and Ocean City.The First Street “family” is representative of other neighborhoods throughout the island that begin to part ways on Labor Day each year and start the countdown to a new summer nine months away.The neighborhood gathers around Steve Sands’ ground-level garage to watch Mr. Steve’s 1st Street Talent Show.Mr. Steve’s Talent Show includes kids’ acts, adult acts, the occasional line dance and the first showing of the summer slideshow. The event has awards and a friendly rivalry between the 800 and 900 blocks of First Street. And for a show created primarily to make memories, it includes a surprising bit of actual talent.Many of the young participants were not born when Sands created the event 11 years ago, and some of the original performers are now in college. But when they return, they all still call him “Mr. Steve.”Participants in the kids’ talent show get T-shirts for their performances.Sands, 51, built his First Street home in 2000. During the summer, he organizes outdoor movie nights for the neighborhood kids every Wednesday. It gives the children a chance to hang together and parents a little bit of time off.A native of Belfast, Ireland, Sands reconnected later in life with a childhood sweetheart he dated as a teen in Donegal. Maura and Steve each had two children from separate marriages before marrying in 2010.Maura is an employee of Wesley Manor, where Steve volunteers calling bingo and transporting residents to the hairdresser.Steve’s son, Connor, a Drexel University student, worked the sound system for the event, and his daughter, Lauren, took video of the acts.With the First Street “family” gathered tightly around a screen set up in Sands’ driveway on Saturday night, the slideshow ended appropriately enough with a takeoff on the iconic sign-off of 1970s family drama “The Waltons” — with different names substituted for “Good night, John Boy,” “Good night, Elizabeth,” and “Good night, Jim-Bob.”“So summer 2015 has come and gone,” Sands said. “You witnessed something special Saturday night with a very close-knit summer family.”See more videos from Mr. Steve’s 1st Street Talent Show 2015.last_img