Music and thrills find a place at the fair

High-diving pirates and a bicycle, skateboard and in-line skate stunt show highlight the entertainment scheduled at this year's Maryland State Fair in Timonium.

The fair also offers a variety of live musical entertainment with the 1997 special feature a free concert by longtime Baltimore favorite Ronnie Dove. Dove had several Top 40 hits in the '60s including "Right or Wrong," "One Kiss For Old Times Sake" and "A Little Bit of Heaven." Dove's show at 7: 30 p.m. Monday in the Horse Show Arena Complex includes guests Stevie and the Satellites.


Lacking the facilities to bring in "name" acts who attract large audiences, general manager Max Mosner said the fair remains committed to showcasing a variety of regionally recognized singers and bands.

"You can see big-name entertainment throughout the year in the Baltimore-Washington area,"' Mosner said, explaining the fair's scheduling strategy. "Over the years we've used some people whose names you would certainly recognize, but we never went the superstar route."


Mosner said fair officials are hoping this year's free concert by Love will attract 8,000 to 10,000 people who normally wouldn't attend the fair on a Monday night. Last year, the fair worked with oldies station WQSR on a show by '60s greats the Rascals and the Turtles. Mosner said despite heavy promotion by the radio station, turnout for the concert -- which charged admission -- was disappointing.

L "We just didn't get the people we were hoping for," he said.

The entertainment schedule -- limited as it is by the daily horse hTC races and the livestock competitions which anchor the 10-day fair -- remains vitally important to the fair's survival, Mosner said.

Once the only game in town as August wound to a close, the "10 Best Days of Summer" has found its star fading in recent years as the re-opening of schools across the state was moved up before Labor Day and the National Football League kicked off a new season on the Sunday before Labor Day -- typically the fair's biggest day.

In a renewed effort to compete with these and other outside activities, the fair has widened its entertainment spectrum, bringing in acts like "The Wild Ones," the Mountain Dew Bike, Blade and Board Thrill Show featuring individual and combination stunts by a three-man daredevil act which proved extremely popular last year, Mosner said.

The bike, skateboard and in-line skate stunts are laboriously choreographed and performed in a 16-foot by 48-foot half pipe that serves as a ramp for many of the feats. The 25-minute show -- a big hit with kids -- is scheduled for 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. on weekends and Labor Day and at noon, 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. during the week.

The All-American High Diving Team's "Pirates of the Caribbean" show features world-class divers -- including some seasoned competitors from the Acapulco Cliff Diving Championships -- diving off an 80-foot-high plank into a pool just eight feet deep as they search for the map to Treasure Island. The show -- produced by eight-time High Dive World Champion Dana Kunze -- will be performed at noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on weekends and Labor Day and at 1 p.m., 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. during the week.

Other variety acts on this year's slate include local dance troupes and choirs, martial arts demonstrations and a magic show. Entertainment scheduled for Aug. 28 -- Senior Appreciation Day -- was selected to appeal to an older audience.


Musical acts are scheduled at the fair's Main Stage, near the Exhibition Hall or on the Park Stage in the park on the fairgrounds. The entertainment -- which ranges from the Frank ,, Sinatra-like stylings of Mickey Light to the reggae beat of Jah Works -- is included in the fair's admission.

This year's performances include an appearance by 14-year-old country singer Karina Rosamond, a veteran performer at a number of California fairs who recently relocated to Laurel. Rosamond -- the area's very own Lee Anne Rimes -- recently recorded her first single, "Just A Dreamer" for GreyWolf Records in Los Angeles. She favors songs first recorded by Patsy Cline, Reba McEntire, Tanya Tucker and Lorrie Morgan. Rosamond will perform from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Labor Day at the Park Stage.

Gingham Shmuz takes the Main Stage from 6 p.m. to 8: 30 p.m. Aug. 30, bringing blues, jazz and funk to the fair. Lead singer Jill Janota's voice has been compared to Natalie Merchant's, and many of the band's songs have a feminist edge. Based in Delaware, Gingham Shmuz is a two-time opening act for Southern Comfort's recent "Rock the Blues" summer tour.

Headlining this Sunday is Ruthie and the Wranglers, a honky-tonk band that sounds straight out of Texas but is actually based in Washington. The four-member group -- featured live on Ernest Tubb's "Midnight Jamboree" radio show -- have been taking their own brand of rockabilly around the country since 1989. Member Mark Noone is a former Slickee Boy -- the Washington-based pop group that garnered a regional following along with a few popular records during the '80s. Frontwoman Ruthie Logsdon looks to Loretta Lynn and other country stateswomen for inspiration. She was also heavily influenced by the punk rock movement of the early '80s. Ruthie and the Wranglers will perform on the Main Stage from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Pub Date: 8/21/97