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Concerts at the NY State Fair With My Dad

Updated on June 24, 2015

How he planned these out I may never know

Going to the concerts was not always the highlight of the day. The evening maybe. But there was always something to do throughout the day. The butter sculpture was one of those things that we always checked out. The first one that comes to mind is the cow jumping over the moon. Not sure if that was from the same year of just stuck in my head.

I also remember that my dad left a note in an ambulance for some friends that were helping cover the fair. I suggested that he turn on all the lights so when they turned on the vehicle they would start flashing. A simple no was the response to that one.

The food court was always a fun time. Just walking around and trying to decide could take hours. Add to that there were at least three of us and one was vegetarian. Maybe we should have gotten a list before heading out and thought about it on the way there. Of course the great smells would have nixed that in a moment.

But this is more about the music with some other memories mixed in. Or in my case mixed up.

Main Image

John Denver

Of the three concerts that I remember from the fair John Denver is the one I remember the most. It was in August of 1986. Sorry no proof that I was there. Just the memories I am able to share with you.

This was another family trip with my dad and sister. The first song I remember while growing up. "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" That song I could have sung with the music alone. The interesting thing is later in life I learned a parody to that song. Titled - Thank God I'm a Cavalier. Its interesting how things change but stay the same.

The second song is Calypso. This was a dedication to Jacques Cousteau and his ship the Calypso. More memories of growing up. The shows that we saw about Mr. Cousteau and his ship. Add into that the sister that was with us studied marine biology in college.

The third song is Leaving On a Jet Plain. I don't remember if he sang this song that evening. But these days it is a great way to think about my wife.

Fourth on the list is Perhaps Love sung with Placido Domingo. This one I know for certain was on the list that evening. I remember the intro to the song and the way the song had been preformed. Hearing the ways it was sung. The way John Denver would introduce Placido Domingo. Even though it felt like his part maybe recorded I know that John Denver was singing his part throughout the song.

Fifth is a song that I don't think was at the concert. But John Denver had a great relationship with the Muppets. And that is why Poems Prayers and Promises is on this list. Again this lens is about memories and in this case it is one that was worth sharing even if it was not from the fair.

Thank God I'm a Country Boy


Leaving on a Jet Plane

Perhaps Love

Poems and Proises

A little John Denver on Amazon


My Most Fascinating Memory of the Fair

Thinking back there are several memories that I have from the fair. But the one that sticks out most in my head is of a gentleman sitting in a corner. He was quiet and concentrating on the task at hand. Not looking up from what he was working on. When we got closer he seamed to be scratching on a little piece of something white. He did look up at us and just saw me staring at what he was doing. He then took his time and explained that he was carving ivory. My response was I don't see anything. He then did something to the small piece of ivory and the lines that he had been etching came to life. There was a intricate design of a boat. Not the one in the image but still well drawn out. To this day when ever I see a anything like that I think back to meting this artist and what he was able to show and teach me that day.

Bob Dylan

To be honest I only recognized three words that were sung that whole evening. The music I did know and was able to add the words on my own. Although there were many others there that were singing along it was hard to understand them.

Some of the more interesting parts of the evening was watching security escorting people out of the concert. This was because of drinking and smoking things that they were not supposed to.

There was also a transformer that blew our on the fair grounds that evening. So a bright flash of light was a nice addition to the music.

The songs listed below are the ones that I always think about when someone says Bob Dylan. Sorry I don't have a play list from that evening.

Blowing in the Wind

Mr. Tambourine Man

Knockin' on Heaven's Door

The Times They are a Changin'

Bob Dylan is there too

Salt Water Taffy - Don't leave the fair without it!

Salt Water Taffy - Don't leave the fair without it!
Salt Water Taffy - Don't leave the fair without it!

Why you ask - Well read on

  1. Its really good and you get to watch them make it right in front of you.
  2. A friend of mine got me started on this in college. When he got married I went back to the fair for one reason only. To get him a box of Salt Water Taffy as part of his wedding gift.
  3. The last time we were there it was sort of a quest for the kids. Find the places where they are making the taffy. In the good news there was a location near the front gate. It also happened to be near a large Lego display. A big bonus for our youngest and most tired.

Sha Na Na

First Sha Na Na was not the concert in the park so to speak. They were one of those that preformed a couple of times during the day. But it was still a nice surprise to see them there. I had seen them on TV many times but in person it is still a blast.

I am not sure what songs they were singing that day but I did pick some out that I have always enjoyed watching and hearing them sing. And yes Bowzer is my favorite as I am also a base singer. Add into that the way he dresses helps him to stand out from the rest.

Pretty Little Angel Eyes

Mr. Boss Man

in the Still of the Nigh

Tell Laura I Love Her

And what would Amazon be without Sha Na NA

Time for a quick question

NY State Fair Concerts
NY State Fair Concerts

Have you ever gone to a state fair to see a concert?

See results

Bonus from dad

A trip for our honeymoon

Yup that's right. On our honeymoon my dad got us a pair of tickets to the New York State Fair. This was more of a day trip not concert tickets. That did not matter. It was a fun day trip to spend with my new wife. And one of the things we did besides eat salt water taffy was to go on one of the rides.

In this case it was not the usual carnival ride it was to ride on an elephant. For us this was something new and exciting.

A side note - for my sister it was something old and had been done many times over. Yes this sister is the one that works in a zoo. Also the picture is not from the fair but from my sister. Always give credit where credit is due.

I know you would rather be going to a concert or the fair - But please leave a comment before heading out the door

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    • PaigSr profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from State of Confusion

      @williamslaw: Personal opinion - go with someone else. Its more fun to share.

    • williamslaw profile image


      4 years ago

      I think going to the fair would be my idea of fun.

    • PaigSr profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from State of Confusion

      @shewins: Good to know. This year my daughter has kept her eyes open as she may wish to see a few acts. We shall see how that goes.

    • shewins profile image


      5 years ago

      My local county fair has some good music acts sometimes. I saw Johnny Cash at the Nevada County Fair in Grass Valley, CA.

    • PaigSr profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from State of Confusion

      @KimGiancaterino: That's one of those things I didn't picture myself doing in my lifetime either.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      5 years ago

      I've only been to county fairs, but have many happy memories of the food, rides, and performers. Never got to ride an elephant, though.

    • PaigSr profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from State of Confusion

      @Scott A McCray: I know the band. Haven't seen them in concert though.

    • profile image

      Scott A McCray 

      5 years ago

      Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Raleigh, NC - good times...

    • PaigSr profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from State of Confusion

      @favored: I think seeing the Monkey's would have been fun. Shades of Gray is my favorite of their songs.

    • PaigSr profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from State of Confusion

      @Old Navy Guy: I have memories, and am making more. I just needed to get prompted into sharing them. Glad you enjoyed the read.

    • PaigSr profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from State of Confusion

      @SBPI Inc: Luckily my sister and her husband have never been sat on by any of the animals that they work with. They met while working at the Bronx Zoo. Interesting how things seam to tie together.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 

      5 years ago from USA

      I did see the Monkey's at a NJ State Fair, but don't remember what year it was. I'm glad you had such fond memories of the time spent with your Dad.

    • Old Navy Guy profile image

      Old Navy Guy 

      5 years ago

      It sounds as if you have fond memories of your time with your Dad. Thanks for a fun read.

    • SBPI Inc profile image

      SBPI Inc 

      5 years ago

      Used to, back in 1960s lived in Westchester County NY and worked a hop-skip-and-jump from the Bronx Zoo for a couple of years and Helen R. who worked for me at the time, was the mother of the young man that took care of the elephants. He apparently was accidentally sat on by one once but I believe he survived. kinda scary to be close but they do not normally bother the caretakers and really are beautiful animals.


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