Franklin County Pair Wins Open Mic Night Competition in Toccoa

Haley Little and Ethan Smith of Franklin County performed a variety of show tunes to capture the top prize.

A Franklin County pair are the winners of Toccoa’s first Open Mic Competition in Toccoa.

The final Open Mic Monday for the season was held Monday night at the Historic Ritz Theatre at the Schafer Center in downtown Toccoa.

Five acts performed three songs each to determine the season champion and a paid gig to perform as an opening act for the upcoming Ida Cox music series performance this summer.

The grand finale winners were Hailey Little and Ethan Smith from Franklin County.

Smith and Little said they were thrilled with their win.

“It feels great. We were just doing it for fun and it had a great outcome” said Smith.

“It was really exciting,” Little added. “We didn’t expect it at all, and it turned out in our favor.”

Beginning last September, Open Mic Night competitions were held on the third Monday of the month.

Contestants came from around the North Georgia and Upstate area to perform everything from songs to poetry readings. The winners of each show then went on to compete in Monday night’s finale.

Little tells WNEG their performance originated with a song they performed at Franklin County High School.

Ritz manager Keith Kozicki presents Little and Smith with their award

“We used one of these songs that just stuck and was our go to song. The other two songs we found on You Tube and said that’s our song,” she said.

Ritz Theatre General Manager Keith Kozicki says the finale and monthly event was a great success.

“I thought it was an amazing first try at something that we didn’t know if we would get two people, twelve, or two hundred, and to have 156 people here at the grand finale, and the kind of talent, and how difficult it was for the judges to actually come up with a winner because it was so good and competitive. I’m just amazed,” he said.

Kozicki says the first run was such a success that he looks for the event to continue.

“Absolutely, the response to this event has been phenomenal,” Kozicki noted. “We are drawing people from around the region which really speaks to the fact that there is a lot of talent in Northeast Georgia. I had one of the performers say there is really not a whole lot of places to perform or showcase your talent. I think we have now tapped in to that and this event is only going to grow.”

Little agreed saying it is a great showcase for talent and the venue.

“I think it is a really good way to attract people to the Ritz Theatre. It is a great way to draw people in.” Smith added, “It is a great opportunity for people to get their name out there, or just have a lot of fun.”

Look for Open Mic Monday to return to the Ritz Theatre in the Fall of 2018.