The annual Turnin’ Up The Heat fundraising variety show will take place Saturday, April 3 at the Rockport Opera House, 6 Central St. The fun to raise funds for the Knox County Home Energy Committee will begin 7 p.m.

What started in Tracy Rescigno’s living room in 2002 has evolved into one amazing community event. Last year’s Turnin’ Up the Heat ended up standing-room-only with having to turn people away at the door, so her only choice was to go bigger with the community talent show’s venue. Tickets are on sale until Friday, April 2 at Rock City Books & Coffee, 328 Main St., Rockland.

“I firmly believe when people are given a chance to share their particular talents with their community, transformation happens whether you’re in the spotlight or in the audience. It’s quite an experience,” said Rescigno.

The talent shows were not always called Turnin’ Up the Heat, but in 2008, Rescigno made a decision that her talent show was going to be a “FUNdraiser.” Enter Knox County Home Energy Committee, a grassroots volunteer-driven committee started that year by Rep. Ed Mazurek, D-Rockland and Anne “Pinny” Beebe-Center, Chairwoman of the Knox County Commissioners. When Maine was experiencing the fuel price spike, Mazurek and Beebe-Center wondered how their neighbors would make it through the winter, so they spearheaded the Knox County Home Energy Committee.

“Now there are over 100 people in our community volunteering and supporting us. I believe that is a reflection of our committee and our commitment,” said Rescigno, who signed on as the coordinator of KCHEC in 2009.

Thanks to donated supplies, incredible amounts of volunteer hours and Turnin’ up the Heat fundraising proceeds, the committee has been able to winterize more than 60 households in Knox County. In the two seasons, companies such as EBS, E.L. Spear, Viking, Lowe’s, Home Depot and F.W. Webb have donated winterization supplies. Chief Matt Ripley and the U.S. Coast Guard led the winterization efforts with volunteers from the surrounding community, police departments, fire departments, Rockland Rotary, University of Maine’s Rockland campus, Youthlinks, Rockland District High School’s Tiger Outreach Program and private enterprises including Lonza manufacturing plant. The committee also lends itself to help Knox County residents of all income brackets weave their way through a web of state and federal programs for home energy needs and emergencies.

“The talent show is our biggest funding source and we invite our community to give us a hand, literally. It’s a great way to be involved, help out your neighbors and have the most incredible night out,” said Rescigno.

Quite a bit of Maine talent is lined up for the event including 8-year-old singing sensation Annabel Parker of Rockland singing a song from “Les Miserables.” Duff Powell, Midcoast Maine’s own comedian, will have people rolling in the aisles with laughter. Known as the man of many voices, Powell’s impression impersonations include Elvis, Ross Perot, Bob Dylan, James Stewart and spot-on Maine characters.

Also not to be missed is the toe-tapping hand-clapping movements of the Rockport Dance Conservatory troupe, which brought the house down last year. This year. They will be joined by a state senator, a couple of members of the House of Representatives and a police officer running for sheriff for a must-see number that promises to change the way you view politics.

Louise MacLellan will return to perform “Troublin’ Times,” a song written specially for the event. Turnin’ Up the Heat’s house band features local legends Hugh McGuiness and Johnny, who will add a touch of country twang to the night’s festivities.

Tickets are $8, $5 for senior citizens and those younger than 19. For more information, visit turninuptheheat.weebly.com.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.