Music, comedy, and dance will keep the good times rolling during FMCA’s convention in Perry.
By Doug Uhlenbrock, Associate Editor
Those attending FMCA’s 81st International Convention, March 16 through 19, 2009, at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Georgia, will have plenty of opportunities for fun and entertainment throughout the days and into the nights.
The “Great Georgia Getaway” convention will feature music and laughter, along with dancing and other activities that are sure to keep smiles on attendees’ faces.
Baseball’s opening day will be right around the corner by the time you reach Perry, so what better way to celebrate America’s national pastime than to participate in a fun-filled game of beanbag baseball on Sunday, March 15, led by FMCA members Al and Roberta Vormittag. No matter your skill level or physical ability, Al and Roberta will lift your spirits and prepare you for an exciting week ahead.
Later that night, round up your partner “” and a few friends “” and head over to Reaves Arena at 7:30 p.m. for an energetic evening of Square, Round, and Line Dancing called by Jack Ingle, courtesy of Aon Recreation Insurance, C95, an FMCA Three Star sponsor. Jack has been calling square dances for more than 20 years and has taught dancing for nearly 15 years, so everyone from novices to experienced dancers can participate in a night of upbeat activity.
All daytime entertainment will take place at the daytime entertainment stage located in Lot MM, east of Heritage Hall.
Kicking off the fun on Monday, March 16, at 10:00 a.m. will be ventriloquist Peggy Miller as she brings to life some of FMCA’s most loved characters, Willie & Company, on the daytime entertainment stage. Willie will appear courtesy of Freightliner Custom Chassis, C1905, an FMCA Five Star sponsor. Peggy and Willie have provided laughs at FMCA conventions and area rallies for more than 15 years.
Willie is the star of the show and isn’t shy about letting those in the audience know it. With a quick wit and devilish charm, he sweet-talks the women, aggravates the men, and amazes the children with his stories and songs. Although he seems to delight in stirring up trouble, Willie just wants to make people laugh. If you can’t make the show on Monday, you can catch Willie & Company again on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m.
At noon, the husband-and-wife duo called Playin’ Possum will take the “Great Georgia Getaway” stage. Bill and Sue Davis have been performing bluegrass and country gospel music since 1997 when they were persuaded to take their back-room act onto the stage. Since then they’ve been entertaining audiences at fairs, festivals, street conventions, and other events. This Macon couple will have listeners tapping their feet and clapping their hands with old-time favorites played on the guitar, banjo, and mandolin. Playin’ Possum also will perform at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday.
Following Playin’ Possum, make a beeline to the coach and supplier displays, which will be open from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Be one of the first to see the new motorhomes exhibited as manufacturers roll out their latest models for inspection. A variety of bus conversions and production models in all sizes and price ranges will be open for you to tour. In addition, make sure to stop by the Class B/C Area for a look at some of the most innovative Type B and Type C motorhomes available today. Also, visit the many indoor exhibitors displaying the latest and greatest RVing accessories.
At 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, grab a seat and enjoy The Highlandlers, a performing team of musicians and dancers based in central Georgia. This troupe, whose name is a combination of the words Highland (Scottish) and Landler (a type of German dance meaning “from the land”), has a repertoire of songs and dances from Germany, Austria, Italy, Russia, Scotland, England, and North America. Dressed in historic costumes to reflect the culture being presented, dancers in the fast-paced show may portray horses, shoe-slapping woodcutters, or the moving parts of a windmill. Some dances are humorous, others dramatic. The group includes performers ranging from 8 to 25 years of age who all have come from a home-school educational environment.
Beginning on Tuesday, March 17, and continuing throughout the rest of the convention, start your days off with complimentary coffee, hot chocolate, and doughnuts, while supplies last, at Morning Coffee Hour, beginning each day at 7:00 a.m., courtesy of Roadmaster Inc., C2952, an FMCA Five Star sponsor. The Coffee Hour Area will be adjacent to the daytime entertainment stage in Lot MM.
In addition, complimentary newspapers will be distributed during this time, while supplies last. Also, make sure to stay apprised of all the latest convention happenings by picking up the official FMCA “Great Georgia Getaway” newsletter at each Morning Coffee Hour.
While you’re enjoying your morning refreshments, take in the sounds of FMCA’s own Frustrated Maestros, who will perform Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the daytime entertainment stage. The eclectic ensemble, composed of members from FMCA’s 10 Frustrated Maestros chapters, has been a convention staple since the first Frustrated Maestros chapter was formed in 1981. Clap your hands, tap your feet, and sing along as the Maestros liven up the mornings. The group also will perform on Wednesday, March 18, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the daytime entertainment stage before and during the ever-popular Ice Cream Social, which will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The cool treats will be distributed in the area around the daytime entertainment stage thanks to Miller Insurance Agency, C3045, an FMCA Two Star sponsor.
If you’ve always wanted to play in a band, but limited musical skill has kept you from doing so, your dream can come true on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. That’s when Rick Hubbard and the Kazoobie Kazoo Show takes the daytime entertainment stage for an hour of humming good fun. Rick has been tooting his kazoo to the delight of audiences for more than 20 years, bringing his brand of music, comedy, and family fun to anyone, even if they have no musical ability. Everyone in the audience will receive a free kazoo and get an opportunity to perform during the grand finale. Rick also will perform during the Red Hat Tea, Thursday, March 18, at 3:00 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room, handing out red and purple kazoos to those in attendance. On Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., the kazoo king will demonstrate another one of his talents as attendees Learn to Juggle with Rick Hubbard.
You won’t believe your eyes when Mike Fuller … The Magician appears on the daytime entertainment stage Thursday at 11:00 a.m. Mike, whose interest in prestidigitation began at an early age, captivates audiences with his unbelievable magic tricks, leaving onlookers trying to figure out his secrets. The Macon, Georgia, resident is the host of a popular weekly children’s television show, “The Magic Club,” on WMAZ-TV, and has performed at the Georgia National Fair and throughout central Georgia.
All evening entertainment will take place in Reaves Arena beginning at 7:00 p.m. unless noted otherwise.
On Monday evening, dust off your dancing shoes and get ready to shake, rattle, and roll as Ashley Brown spins the hits of yesteryear during the FMCA Social and Dance at Reaves Arena beginning at 7:30 p.m. Join old friends and meet some new ones during this fun-filled gathering.
Tuesday, March 17, is St. Patrick’s Day, so don your green and celebrate your inner Irish as you experience Tony Kenny’s Ireland, courtesy of Signature Resorts, C11470, an FMCA Five Star sponsor.
This Celtic variety show features singer Tony Kenny, who has been one of Ireland’s top entertainers since he was lead singer of the popular Sands Showband during the late 1960s. After a successful stint with this group, which included several Top 10 hits on the Irish charts, Tony left the band and moved to stage musicals, starring in hits such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, West Side Story, Side by Side by Sondheim, and Showboat. In 1982 he joined the famous Jury’s Irish Cabaret, which he headlined for more than 20 years. During this time Tony also was a regular on Irish TV, and his series, “The Tony Kenny Show,” received the prestigious Jacob’s Award in 1976.
Joining Tony will be his daughter, Victoria, a talented 21-year-old singer who has appeared in productions at many of the major theaters in Ireland and has been a soloist with Jury’s Irish Cabaret for several years. Adding laughter to the mix will be Joe Cuddy, who earned the title of “Ireland’s Funniest Man” during the seven straight seasons he appeared in Jury’s Irish Cabaret. Also appearing will be fiddler Sarah May Rogers, who studied at the College of Music in Dublin and developed her skills and love of traditional Irish music while attending Scoil Acla on Achill Island. Rounding out the lineup are the Celtic Nights Dancers, a traditional Irish dancing group. Dancers in the troupe have experience in many of the great Irish dance shows, including Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, and Jury’s Irish Cabaret.
On Wednesday, March 18, enjoy one of the top country/crossover bands of the late 1980s and early 1990s as the original members of Restless Heart reprise their hits. The group, which includes singer Larry Stewart, keyboardist Dave Innis, guitarist Greg Jennings, bassist Paul Gregg, and drummer John Dittrich, came together in 1983 and signed its first contract with RCA Records in 1985. Their self-titled debut album that year made it to #10 on Billboard’s Top Country Album chart, with three singles from the record appearing in the Hot Country Singles Top 10.
The group’s second album, “Wheels,” thrust Restless Heart into stardom as it reached the top of the Country Albums chart, featuring #1 country singles “That Rock Won’t Roll,” “Wheels,” “Why Does It Have To Be Wrong Or Right,” and “I’ll Still Be Loving You,” the latter of which reached #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The hits continued on the next album, “Big Dreams In A Small Town,” with four more songs reaching the top 10, including #1 singles “A Tender Lie” and “The Bluest Eyes In Texas.” Subsequent albums included more top 10 country singles including “When She Cries,” which rose to #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart. “Tell Me What You Dream,” which was released as a single only, topped the Adult Contemporary chart in 1993, but by then members of the band were growing tired of the travel and time away from their families, and the group dissolved in 1996.
However, after a six-year hiatus, Restless Heart reunited and has been touring since. The group released “Still Restless” in 2004 and celebrated its silver anniversary last year with the album “25 and Live.”
Prepare yourself for a night of laughter on Thursday as Atlanta’s Jerry Farber brings his hilarious stand-up comedy act to the “Great Georgia Getaway” evening entertainment stage.
Jerry’s career in show business began behind a piano, playing in Atlanta-area nightclubs during the weekends while selling women’s clothing during the week. That all changed in the early 1970s when he began incorporating comedy into his performances. The piano-playing funnyman soon became one of Atlanta’s most recognized and popular performers, headlining the comedy club circuit as well as making regular appearances on local TV and radio. He was voted by fans as one of the top five celebrities in Atlanta, was selected Entertainer of the Year by Atlanta Magazine three times, and was named Favorite Storyteller by Cobb Magazine.
Although Jerry has cut back on his schedule of comedy club appearances in recent years, his current performances continue to feature his own hip piano finesse and warm-blooded, clean humor, inspired by jazz and comedy greats. Best of all, he personalizes each show, weaving the audience into each routine.
So be sure to check out all of the great entertainment offered during the “Great Georgia Getaway” convention in Perry.