Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion' to open 2008 Champlain Valley Fair Concert Series

ESSEX JUNCTION Garrison Keillors A Prairie Home Companion will be the opening act for the 10-day 2008 Champlain Valley Fair on Saturday, August 23 at 8 p.m. Vermont Public Radio is the presenting sponsor of A Prairie Home Companion. Progressive is the presenting sponsor of the Champlain Valley Fair. The popular public radio show, which features a mix of radio comedy sketches, live music and Keillors signature monologue The News from Lake Wobegon, will be recorded live in performance in the Cocoa-Cola Grandstand on August 23 for national broadcast on September 6. A Prairie Home Companion is heard weekly on Vermont Public Radio at 6 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. on Sundays. We are thrilled to have Garrison Keillor and his show return to Vermont, said Mark Vogelzang, president and general manager of Vermont Public Radio. A Prairie Home Companion has a long tradition of playing some of the biggest state fairs, so it's wonderful that Garrison and the listeners across the nation will get a big slice of Vermont - sort of a homemade apple pie, complete with cheddar cheese on top. Tickets went on sale Monday, December 17 at 10 a.m. through the FlynnTix Regional Box Office, www.flynntix.org or by phone at 802-863-5966. A limited number of Gold Circle seats will be available for $75 each; orchestra and grandstand seats are $35; and bleachers are $25. Advance tickets include admission to the Champlain Valley Fair (a value of $10). Applicable service charges also apply to all tickets. Keillor is no stranger to Vermont, having performed to sell-out audiences at the Flynn Theatre for the Performing Arts and at Shelburne Museum in years past, but the August 23 show at the Champlain Valley Fair will mark the first time in 15 years he will bring the full A Prairie Home Companion show to Vermont for a national broadcast. Having Garrison Keillor at the Fair could make it one of our biggest opening days ever, said David Grimm, general manager of Champlain Valley Exposition. The show will also feature large video screens on either side of the stage so everyone can feel like they have a front-row seat to the stage. A Prairie Home Companion is heard by more than 4 million listeners each week on some 580 public radio stations, and abroad on America One and the Armed Forces Networks in Europe and the Far East. Along with being the host and writer of A Prairie Home Companion, he also writes and hosts The Writers Almanac heard on VPR weekday mornings and is the author of more than a dozen books, including Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, Love Me and Homegrown Democrat. Looking back on the 34 years of doing the live radio show, Keillor says, When the show started, it was something funny to do with my friends, and then it became an achievement that I hoped would be successful, and now it's a good way of life. The first words to come out of Keillor's mouth at the start of A Prairie Home Companion, are song lyrics: Its Saturday an/the band is playin/Honey, could you ask for more? The show will include comic skits and commercials from sponsors like Powdermilk Biscuits which have the power to make shy persons bold, and mock public service announcement from organization such as the American Duct Tape Council. Audience members will also have an opportunity to submit announcements for Keillor to read on-air midway through the show. The Champlain Valley Fair, presented by Progressive, is Vermonts biggest annual event offering 10 days of agricultural displays and exhibits, free entertainment, grandstand concerts, motorsports, midway and carnival, shopping and food. It was named a Top 100 Event in America by the American Bus Association in 2007 and again for 2008. Champlain Valley Fair was also honored as the top agricultural fair in America in 2006 by the International Association of Fairs and Expositions. For a schedule of ongoing events at the Exposition or to sign up for a free, online newsletter with updates on future concerts, visit www.cvexpo.org or call 802-878-5545. Vermont Public Radio provides two services: VPR, featuring news and information and public radio entertainment, and VPR Classical, a 24-hour all classical music network, heard on frequencies throughout the state. In northern Vermont, VPR can be heard at 107.9 FM. VPR Classical can be heard at 90.9 in the Champlain Valley. A complete listing of frequencies is available at online at www.vpr.net. VPR and VPR Classical are also available anytime as high quality mp3 streams at vpr.net.

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