Country star Campbell wows crowd at Indiana County Fair
With the Indiana County Fair’s opening weekend already on the books, it was time to get down to business on Monday.
There was, after all, food to be deep fried and livestock to be received. And the people in the grandstands surely weren’t going to entertain themselves. That was the task ahead for country singer Craig Campbell, whose concert was at the top of Monday’s agenda.
As he told the audience with his opening song: “I take pride in doin’ my job right./…/I’m a hardworking man, and I party for a living.”
So it wasn’t such a bad day on the farm, not for Campbell and not for the concert’s audience, the size of which wasn’t immediately available. However, Ed Nehrig, the fair’s general manager, estimates that it was smaller than in years past, but still plenty big, as far as the fair is concerned.
And plenty as far as Campbell was concerned. It seemed to surprise him, Monday being a school night and all.
“We got us a good crowd on a Monday night,” he told the audience, which appeared to be buying his brand of country music. The bodysurfing began about three or four songs into his two-hour performance. It went on into a slow, serious tune called “Family Man.”
“That song does not lend itself to bodysurfing,” he said.
Campbell is relatively new on the scene, with his self-titled debut album having been released in 2011. His sophomore follow-up, “Never Regret,” came out in May. He’s been pounding the pavement this summer, performing at county fairs and bars and festivals, working on building a fan base.
Mostly, he’s accomplishing that goal with song, but, as of late, partly with drink.
He had two of the audience up on stage and sat them before a keyboard as he waxed a little piano bar, pouring them rum and Cokes. As he tickled the keys, he spoke of his hometown in Georgia and of its annual celebration of Vidalia onions.
After the show, Campbell spent more than an hour signing autographs and talking with fans,
Earlier in the evening and elsewhere on the fairgrounds, others took care of work that needed to be done, like roasting a few chickens.
Such was the task for Brush Valley Township Volunteer Fire Department. Capt. Dave Overdorff was supervising the effort.
Business has been OK so far, he said. Sunday, in fact, wasn’t bad at all, he added.
And though it’s a bit of work to manage the mobile kitchen, he doesn’t mind.
“I enjoy doing it.”
Down the way, 16-year-old Payton Smith was taking his shift in a benefit dunk tank, helping his Boy Scout troop raise a few bucks.
“You could buy some more (tries) … and miss some more,” he said to one person who stepped up to the plate.
And then along came 11-year-old Zoe Iyoob, who silenced him when her softball hit the bull’s-eye.
“It’s funny,” she said proudly.
And meanwhile, Barb Hauge, of Indiana, was working on instilling a deep appreciation of funnel cakes in her young son, Tim.
Having grown up on a farm, she’s no stranger to agricultural fairs — she is a former dairy princess.
And like she says, “No fair is complete without a trip to the funnel cake booth.”
The fair continues through Saturday
PHOTO: Country music singer Craig Campbell, left, performed Monday at the Indiana County Fair with guitarist Brent Mason. (TERI ENCISO/Gazette)