Monday, August 23

A Day at the Indiana State Fair including Jeff Dunham

A day at the Indiana State Fair, for some, is an annual event. I had not been in about 20 years. I know; I was long overdue. Being asked to judge the Backyard BBQ Cook-off, sponsored by Shoup's, and review Jeff Dunham's performance for the same day seemed like a higher power giving a little push.

So I went.

Alongside of me, judging four hours worth of pork hog burgers, ribs and loin, shrimp and vegetables were Reid Duffy (Duffy's Diner) and Chef Thomas England, who is also a sommelier. I was in good company.

After eating for four straight hours, there was only one thing I wanted to do...that's right, hit the strip for fair food. Hey, it'd been awhile. First, I got a couple of old standbys, the elephant ear and the pineapple whip ice cream, and then headed over for deep-fried butter.

Yes, it really was butter; frozen, dipped in funnel cake batter, dropped in hot oil and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. It tasted exactly like french toast without syrup.

Amelia Rettig, a third-grader at New Britton Elementary, dug in and enjoyed it, also. (see left photo)

Taking to the grandstand stage was Jeff Dunham, master ventriloquist and comedian. With millions of Youtube hits, DVD sales and sell-out performances around the world, Dunham continues to delight audiences with his "friends," Walter, Peanut, Jose Jalepeno, Bubba and Achmed.

Achmed, the terrifying terrorist, has scored the most popular spot with fans, usurping grump Walter for the title.

Guitar Guy provided opening entertainment for Dunham and company, and re-appeared to help during the show.

Walter garnered the most laughs when a live train happened along, right in the middle of his routine. Twice.

I am a fan of Dunham but was more than a little surprised when the characters dotted the performance heavily with sexual innuendos and outright vulgarities. Keep that in mind if you are considering taking the kids.

Overall, the day was great with memories of my childhood days of 4-H projects due to the fair, junk food and the midway.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93.1 WIBC and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and at Comments can be sent to

Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter, Fortville-McCordsville Reporter, and Indiana Weekender

Photo credits:
Mark Lee
PLR photography

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