I checked off the last of my boxes Sunday as my dear wife Karen and I walked our way around the New York State Fair.
My first two 2013 excursions were concentrated around the music at Chevy Court, and the shows by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Vince Gill both lived up to my expectations.
Trip three was aimed toward covering the other bases.
•We successfully covered the crowded concrete rows inside the Center of Progress, snaking through aisle after aisle and weaving around the beautiful bounty of a sand sculpture in the middle.
One young hawker did his job so well that we ended up carrying our lifetime supply of skin lotion around in an orange NYSUT bag the rest of the trip. Oh, that’s right, Karen smartly backed the man down to the three-month supply level before striking the deal.
I couldn’t find the table where they cleaned the lenses of your glasses for 50 cents while attempting to sell you that little jar of miracles. I had not only my sunglasses at the ready, but I’d brought my reading glasses, too, and had a whole buck earmarked for the celebration. True confession: One year I bought the cleaner, stuck it in the glove compartment of my car, and had the whole melted mess pour out on my lap as I attempted to use it the very next, blazing hot day.
•We stopped at Horan’s food stand to say hello and buy a beverage. I had to keep up my streak of patronage at the lively booth owned by my former colleague at the big daily, Greg Horan, and his wife, Diane. Horan’s was one of my go-to dinner spots during my two decades of reviewing court and grandstand concerts. And now the streak lives.
•We stepped inside the agricultural building lined with hay-filled stalls to talk to the goats. Goat after goat ran to the rail to greet us. I held up my end of the conversation in my most-soothing voice to each and all, asking how their state fair had gone and assuring them that they’d be able to go back home after one more day as featured entertainers. It seems like I’m somewhat of a Goat Whisperer, such was the affection of these baaaa boys and girls. Karen suggested that we enter the raffle to win a baby goat, but I just didn’t see the kid roaming the Eastwood backyard in peaceful existence with Ellie B, aka Dogamous Pyle. I did not buy the won’t-have-to-mow-as-much argument, either.
The last stop was Chevy Court, for the start of the show by Dickey Betts. The former Allman Brothers Band guitarist and singer began by telling all the happy fans withstanding the sun that he wasn’t being given enough time to do the usual set, so they’d have to settle for a shortened list of hits. I arched an eyebrow. You’re really going to begin by making everybody aware that they’re going to be short-changed? Later, Dickey joked that he’s not too familiar with performing so early in the day. “Statesboro Blues” and “Blue Skies” sounded pretty fine nevertheless.
In fact, it was a wonderful way to tie the big bow on my Geddes experience for 2013.