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At fair, humor is what is heard, not seen

The Citrus County Fair opened at 4 p.m. March 18. During the last-minute bustle, a call was placed for an on-site electrician to make electricity available for a performer known as Kachunga, who conducts an alligator show.

Longtime Fair Board member and volunteer Hal Porter was passing the exhibit when the call came over the radio. He went to the breaker box, flipped a switch and the problem was solved. Returning to the fair office, he told fair manager Jean Grant to cancel the call for the electrician.

"Don't send an electrician down to the alligator," Grant called over the radio. "He lit up without you."

SPEAKING OF GOLDEN EGGS: Prior to the start of the fair's steer auction last week, auctioneer David Rooks warmed up his vocal chords by selling off the Grand Champion Meat Pen of Poultry and the Reserve Grand Champion Meat Pen of Poultry. Each cage held three plump white chickens. The bidding began at $50 and climbed to $150 for the grand pen and $200 for the reserve pen.

Of course the money went to the children, but several tongue-in-cheek remarks were heard in the audience. Someone said the birds constituted "an expensive chicken dinner."

"They should be bronzed," said another observer.

"Gold plated," came the response.

But the best reaction might have come from the Citrus Times' own Bonnie Willette, who was in the Times office when she heard about the high-priced chickens.

"Chicken cordon green!" she dubbed the birds.

SOUND REASONING: Fair staffers use radios to communicate.

Late one evening, a sleep-deprived Grant was getting frustrated with an ongoing hum and crackle on the radio.

"Now I got the helicopter," she said, referring to the helicopter that takes fair visitors for rides at $10 a head.

"Somebody is sitting on their radio. Get up!" Grant snapped over the radio, with all the vocal authority of a Marine drill instructor.

The answer came back in a millisecond. "Yes, ma'am!"

The noise stopped.

_ Times staff writer Mary Ann Koslasky compiled this report.