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Altamont Fair Special Section Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 9, 2007

New attractions and old standbys

Heritage comes alive at tri-county fair

By Tyler Schuling

ALTAMONT — The annual tri-county fair is bringing new attractions and old standbys to Altamont this year.

"A country fair is a great experience," said Marie McMillan, the fair’s operations manager.

McMillan said the fair’s purpose is to celebrate the area’s agricultural and historical heritage and to keep it alive.

"Hopefully, we should have a real nice show if the weather cooperates," she said.

Incorporated in May of 1893, the first fair in Altamont was held in September of that year. It was a four-day event, and admission was 25 cents for adults. Today, fair-goers flock to the annual six-day event for music, food, family fun, and carnival rides. A variety of vendors, trades shows, exhibits, and demonstrations run throughout the week.

Many historical and agricultural artifacts will be on the grounds displayed in free museums, and animals will be housed in the fair’s barns. Residents of Albany, Schenectady, and Greene counties will once again put their creativity on display at the fine arts building and in a variety of exhibits on home and farm skills.

Museums at the fairgrounds include the Dutch Barn, the Farmhouse Museum, the Fire Museum, the 1890s Building, the Old One-Room Schoolhouse, the Circus Museum, the Auto Museums, the Blacksmith Shop, the Chapel, and the Antique Farm Machinery Museum.

This year, McMillan said, fair coordinators are hoping for larger crowds. The fair upped its entertainment and advertising budgets to bring in popular bands the Outlaws and the Jonas Brothers. The shows are free with a general admission ticket.

New vendors, new acts

Fair coordinators also improved their programs and worked hard to get new vendors to come to the six-day event from Aug. 14 to 19, McMillan said. Last year, McMillan said, there were some complaints that the fair was offering the same things every year.

New food vendors include: Segway Concessions’ apple crisps, World Famous Cappuccino and Specialty Coffee, Northeast Kettle Corn, and Wilson Enterprises’ fried dough.

Other new vendors include: Adirondack Stove, Helderberg Mountain Log Homes, Kre8iv Air-Brushing, Weddings By Neal, and Pinnacle Flag and Pole.

Along with the Army National Guard, the Air National Guard will also have a booth this year.

The Reithofer midway will have a new attraction this year. The Storm, a new ride, is appearing for the first time on the East Coast, McMillan said. Other rides include Tug Boat, Wave Swinger, Raiders, Zipper, and Fireball.

Also new to the fair is a ventriloquist show — The Magic Trunk — which will be performing each day at 2, 4, and 6 p.m.

Popular standbys will be returning, too.

Dean Davis will hold reptile shows. Ward Stone, a pathologist with the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation will talk knowledgeably about wildlife. Ken Blanchard of Gloversville will also display information about otters. Fair buildings have been reconfigured and opened up to allow more room for picnic tables and seating, McMillan said.

On the fair’s opening day, Tuesday, Aug. 14, the Altamont Fair pageant will begin at 11 a.m. at the Reid Northrup Stage, and finals will be in the grandstand that evening.

Sounds of music

With a host of musical acts running throughout the week, the Northrup Stage will first see comedian and entertainer Doc Swan. Swan will be followed up by 15-year-old Renée Lussier, a sophomore at Berne-Knox-Westerlo recently named the Berkshire Idol, and her back-up band, Branchwater. Returning to the fair and right behind Lussier will be the Irish folk band, Hair of the Dog.

Also performing on the Northrup Stage in the evenings are the musical groups The TS Ensemble, The Moxy, The Refrigerators, Good for the Soul, and Nite Train.

At the grandstand, The Outlaws, a southern rock band, will be moving people in their seats on Wednesday, and The Jonas Brothers will hit the grandstand stage on Friday night at 7 p.m. Also at the grandstand, Alex Torres and His Latin Orchestra will be performing on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

The Demolition Derby, which drew a large crowd last year, will be held at the grandstand on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Shooting and canine demonstrations will be held at the State Police Building. A memorial will be displayed commemorating Joseph Longobardo and David Brinkerhoff, troopers killed on duty this year.

Radio Disney will be at the fair Tuesday through Friday and will offer kids’ shows from 7 to 9 p.m.

Returning this year, the popular European-style family favorite Zoppé Circus will entertain crowds each day at 2 and 8 p.m. in the infield.

"We had so many requests to have them back," McMillan said.

Randall’s racing pigs will run each day near the Dutch Barn. The Sherman family is also back this year, performing their lumberjack shows at different times each day in the 1890s building. Also returning is the Backyard Circus, performing each day near gate one.

Thursday, the first of three rounds of a rooster-crowing contest will kick off at 1 p.m. at the poultry barn. (See related story.)

"The roosters will hopefully participate and do what they’re supposed to do," McMillan said.

More daring fair-goers will have a chance each day, at 3, 5, 7, and 9 p.m., to grab a microphone in the beer pavilion and belt out their favorite tunes.


The Altamont Fair will be held Tuesday through Sunday, Aug. 14 to 19. Tickets for adults are $12 at the gate. Admission is free for children 5 and under. Admission is also free for children 6 to 12 on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tickets are $5 for children ages 6 through 12 Thursday through Sunday.

Admission and ride coupons as well as a schedule of each day’s events are available at the Altamont Fair’s website — www.altamontfair.com. Discounted tickets are available at local Price Chopper stores and the Altamont Fair office for $9 until Sunday. The office at 129 Grand Street in Altamont is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bichteman canes ably, reviving a lost art and the glory of old chairs

By Jarrett Carroll

ALTAMONT — Grab a seat, or at least watch one being made.

The lost art of chair caning will be revived at the Altamont fairgrounds next week, under the able hands of Bill Bichteman.

"I haven’t been to the Altamont Fair since I was a kid," said Bichteman. "I can remember when"my brother had a Ford roadster and we all piled into the trunk and didn’t come out until we were in the gate. Boy, that was a long time ago."

Bichteman’s coming back, but this time he’ll most likely be sitting in the front of the car and his trunk won’t be filled with siblings. Instead, Bichteman will be bringing a chair and some cane to the Grange building next Thursday to weave a seat.

Traditional chair caning is the weaving of single strands of cane onto wood-frame seats and the backs of chairs, rockers, and settees. The cane is fastened with wooden pegs or dowels to the chair and the cane is soaked so that the seat tightens once dried.

Many different techniques and materials are used for chair-seat weaving.

It is a time-consuming process that can take days to finish, but, according to Bichteman, the end result is a sturdy, comfortable chair that can’t be mass produced or bought in a big-box store.

"It all depends on the chair. The best I’ve ever done was one day, but it usually takes longer than that," Bichteman said. "Every chair is different. Some are expensive and all the holes are lined up right, others are off, and some of the round ones have a groove where you can’t tie a knot."

From 1 to 5 p.m., and again from 6 to 8 p.m., Bichteman will be weaving away at the Grange building.

"I’ll have a chair that I will start from scratch and we’ll see how far we’ll get," Bichteman told The Enterprise. "Anybody who wants to know about it can ask me. I’m not going to be there to do a hurry-up job."

Bichteman, who only canes chairs "on the side," said he got into the trade through friendships.

"I make doormats out of flat tires, but I’m getting out of that," said Bichteman. "A gentleman in Massachusetts was making seats with rush and I got to know him and starting making stools."

Rush seat weaving uses either natural or cattail leaf rush, bulrush, or man-made fiber rush to weave around the chair’s four rings or dowels. With this technique, the material creates four distinct triangles in the seat pattern.

"It was while I was doing that that, people wanted chairs, and that’s when I met a woman in Guilderland who was running a class at the Guilderland High School," Bichteman said. "And that’s how I learned. I kept going back to her class even though I didn’t need to anymore. She died about seven years ago."

Bichteman makes all of his chairs at his home near the Alcove Reservoir in Albany County. All of the materials are bought and shipped to Bichteman’s house. He describes his home as the "big ol’ farmhouse up on the hill by the Alcove falls."

When it comes to caning, Bichteman said, practice and patience are key.

"I’m still learning everyday. It’s a learning process," he said. "When you first do it, it’s terrible, you get all twisted up"You start off using really short [canes strings]. But when you get better, you try to use the longest one you can find."

Bichteman has displayed his caning skills and has sold his chairs at local craft fairs, but this will be his first demonstration at the Altamont Fair.

He recognizes that chair caning has become an obscure art in modern furniture making, but he’s not in it for the money.

"The younger generation is all about plastic; they don’t care about a good chair. They just throw ’em out," said Bichteman. "You can’t make any money at it"You do it because you enjoy it.

"I just enjoy making things," he concluded.

Bichteman said he was asked to do the demonstration by the Grange’s craft and event fair coordinator, Pearl Collins.

The Grange building will host a different event or demonstration each day of the fair and will also have a variety of pies and other baked goods for sale each day.

"I’ve belonged to the Grange for, oh"I believe it was ’57 when I joined," Collins told The Enterprise. "Whenever we were at the fair, that’s when I started doing it"It’s like one big family. Grangers are all over and when you meet them, you automatically have something in common."

"Coincidentally," Bichteman said. "The chair I’ll be working on belongs to Pearl."

Paisely Print, a Westerlo goat, is seeking the Spotlioght near and far

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

ALTAMONT — David Funk, who judges goat shows all across the country, will have goats from his Westerlo herd compete at the Altamont Fair.

One of his goats, Paisley Print, has been selected as the representative of her breed in an internationally-recognized event, showcasing the best animals of various breeds. Paisley, as Funk calls her, is a five-month-old Nigerian Dwarf dairy goat. He named her for the white, black, and brown swirls on her coat.

"When I call her by name, she comes to me," Funk said.

Her breed, developed in Africa, is half the size of a standard goat; a doe weighs 60 to 70 pounds as opposed to 150 to 200 pounds.

"They’re the size of a Labrador retriever," said Funk.

In fact, Funk describes a goat show as "a cross between a cow show and a dog show."

It’s like a cow show, he said, because the judges look at conformation, at physical characteristics like how well-connected and shapely an udder is.

It’s like a dog show, he said, because goats are more willing than cows to be handled; competitors lead their goats in a circle for a judge to assess.

Funk has bred goats since the early 1960s, when he lived in Norwich in Chenango County. "Even then, I showed every year at the Altamont Fair," he said.

Funk has shown his goats for 31 consecutive years in Altamont.

Since the 1970s, he has been one of the country’s premier dairy goat judges. The licensing process is rigorous and there are fewer than 125 licensed judges in the country, he said. Funk has traveled to 46 states to judge.

"I enjoy judging," he said. "I like educating the public about the animals and helping the breeders improve their animals."

A judge has to give specific reasons for every placement, he said, "all the way down to 27 or 28."

Funk moved to Westerlo in 2002 when his wife got a job as the elementary school librarian at Berne-Knox-Westerlo. Funk has retired from a 39-year career as a sixth-grade teacher. But now, in addition to raising goats, he coaches wrestling and modified track at BKW.

"We use goats’ milk at home, mostly for cooking," he said. He also drinks goats’ milk and occasionally makes cheese with it.

"It should taste like cows’ milk if they’re fed the same way," said Funk, adding, "Individual cow’s milk can have a distinctive taste but with the commercial herds, where most people get their milk from, it all gets mixed together."

Paisely is not one of the ordinary mix.

She has been selected by the American Dairy Goat Association for its annual National Spotlight sale, which attracts an international audience of buyers.

This year’s sale will be held in Fort Collins, Colo. in the fall.

Paisely was selected because of the outstanding milk production and show records of her mother, Does-Sy-Does Ariel, and her excellent conformation.

Does-Sy-Does Ariel, who will also compete at the Altamont Fair, was five times Grand Champion and Best of Breed and once Best in Show. So far this year, she has been shown five times and has been Grand Champion and Best of Breed four times with three shows to go.

Paisley Print has been shown five times and has been Junior Champion twice and Reserve Junior Champion twice.

Paisely’s father was a buck whose mother was "an outstanding milk producer," said Funk. Within Paisely’s pedigree, both her grandmother and her great-grandmother were national production champions. It is unusual to have a goat that has in her lineage both star milk producers and conformation champions, Funk said.

For the Spotlight Sale, Funk said, "They select the strongest genetically to advertise nationally."

The auction itself takes place at a champagne breakfast and the opening bid is $1,500, he said.

Asked if it would make him sad to part with his goat, Funk said, "I’ll still have her twin sister, her mother, and her father. Selling her at the Spotlight Sale, you know she’ll go to a place where she’s cared for"

"It’s the pinnacle," he concluded. "It puts you in the top four or five breeders in the country."

Say it isn’t sew! Missed fair deadline leads to resolve for next year

By Jo E. Prout

ALTAMONT — I missed the deadline to enter the fair! How could this happen"

My son and I talk all the cold year long about what we’ll enter in next year’s Altamont Fair. He won a blue ribbon for his cookies last year. He was 7 years old. He won a ribbon and I didn’t, so he was pleased.

He told his third-grade teacher that he would enter Chocolate Delicious cookies this year. The three-inch cookies have M&Ms in them, and they form perfect circles while baking. We gave them out to teachers and bus drivers. My son doesn’t like chocolate cookies, but he thought they would be a sure winner at the fair.

For our village-wide garage sale two weeks ago, I made Cherry Bites — a small cream-cheese cookie with fresh, local cherry halves baked on top. The basic dough emphasizes the sweet cherry flavor. I used all my willpower that day to save enough cookies to package up for sale.

I’ve been saving my last jar of zucchini garlic and dill pickles for two months. Every time I made a sandwich, I considered opening it, but that same willpower prevailed and the lid stayed sealed.

The three-foot yellow dinosaur I sewed for my son’s Christmas present has been ready and waiting for six months. The beaded and "blinged" shabby cushions I made after a refusal to buy a single $30 store-bought cushion sit on the guest bed, waiting for company.

My son learned how to use the sewing machine last week — Electronic machinery with a pedal" Cool! — and he made a cushion, which we promptly decided he’d enter this year, too. Blue satin material with gold dragons on it is perfect for games of Pirate Booty, Dragon Lair, or King of the Castle. Doesn’t every king need a royal cushion for his throne" Doesn’t every dragon lounge on a luxurious pillow near an open treasure chest"

My son made the cushion on July 20. The deadline was July 25 — plenty of time to enter the fair. So what happened"

Life happened. You know the drill. Work, recreation programs, work, visiting relatives and whirlwind entertaining, dinner preparation and clean-up, laundry (Oh! The laundry that piles up and never ends!), and every other part of living.

Sometimes something’s got to give. This year, apparently, the something is our collective fair entry. We’ll still be there at the fairgrounds to eat burritos and cotton candy, to ride ponies and wavy slides, and to see the dairy and beef cattle. We’ll surely stop into the Arts and Crafts Building and see the variety of ways people create something from a few scraps of what they have at hand.

We’ll see what produce people have grown and wonder why our garden lags so far behind. We might ask the volunteers how we can get our tomatoes that big, too.

Before we leave, we’ll visit the goats and sheep, the new chicks near the hay-bale maze, and the rabbits.

And, maybe next year the something that has to give won’t be the fair. Maybe by that time my son will have the rabbit and the dairy cows he’s wanted for years. And maybe, if we ever finish building the chicken coop, I’ll have a hen to enter, too. But if we don’t, we’ll be back, again, the next year, already dreaming of what to enter in 2009.

Sewing seeds of kindness, Everett Rau is helped by friends
Bringing in the sheaves, so fair-goers can learn the old ways

By Saranac Hale Spencer

GUILDERLAND — Squinting his eyes against the amber glow of the evening’s setting sun, Everett Rau surveys his wheat field and stoops to inspect the underside of an 1885 reaper binder.

"We’re trying to rush it," he says. "It shouldn’t be cut for a week yet."

Friends have come to help Rau harvest his crop in time for the Altamont Fair. "It’s like the old days, where neighbors help neighbors in need," said Rau, who had an accident on the farm earlier this summer.

The feeling is mutual. "Everett is Everett," said 22-year-old Kevin Stewart, a friend who came to help with the harvest. "You can always count on him," he said.

A mechanic, Stewart has learned how to use the antique farm equipment by "reading books and spending time in the field with Everett," he said. The wheat that they harvest will be used in demonstrations of old farming equipment at the fair.

Now in his ninth decade, his back bowing to time, Rau remembers what it was like in the first quarter of the century, when he was a boy on the same Settles Hill farm.

A dog named Rex was his constant companion, he said later from a rocking chair in the living room of a house that has held generations. Looking across the braided rug in the center of the room, to his wife, he said, "Every dog we’ve had, probably 15 of them, have been named Rex." Neither of them knew why.

Rau was the seventh boy born to his parents, and he was one of three who lived to maturity. "It was tough times back then," he said.

He barely made the lucky triplet, though. After 14 years of ear problems and strep throats, Rau was walking to a Christmas party in Altamont from his family’s Lainhart Road homestead when he began to feel sick. "I became quite ill over there and walked back home," he said. "A couple of days later, Dr. Collins told me I had scarlet fever."

The doctor would come to the house with a black bag, he said; it held a dozen glass tubes, filled with mysterious medicines. "It was already warm weather before I was good enough to walk outside," said Rau.

Some of the toughest times, though, passed him by. When the stock market crashed in 1929, Rau’s older brother, Raymond, bought a tractor and the two of them planted the farm with buckwheat.

"I was really taken aback to read the newspapers," he said. "Businessmen were actually jumping out of skyscrapers, there were soup kitchens, but I was eating ample."

During those years, his uncle Willard fell on hard times and came back to live on the family farm, Rau said. The pair raised 77 pigs together, and sold them for seven cents a pound. "That’s $14 per pig," he said.

The next year, they bought an old, commercial-grade meat grinder and sold some pork as sausage, he said. "Every old farmer had recipes," said Rau. "It was basically salt, pepper, and sage."

The Great Depression was different for his wife, Peg, who grew up in Scotia. Life was hard for a while, she said, but she brightens at the memory of meeting her husband. In 1942, they were both working at General Electric, she in the payroll division and he in research and development. She would wonder about the handsome man who walked past her desk every day to punch in, so she checked his clock card to figure him out, she said. At noon one day, she went to the restaurant where he worked the register and the two had lunch together; they haven’t stopped talking since.

"Our first date was in August of ’42; I got my ring at Christmas of ’42; and I married him in June of ’43," Mrs. Rau said without looking up from her knitting.

When she arrived at the farm as a new bride, there was no phone and no running water; those conveniences wouldn’t come for another five years at least.

"When you love somebody enough, you’ll do anything just to have the love of that person," she said of making the adjustment. The couple shared the home with Rau’s mother, who was there to see the births of her four grandchildren.

Rau wouldn’t return to farming until his retirement. He owned a business and sold construction equipment in the interim, but, he said, "My mind was never out of farming because of my childhood."

Before he was 12, during a storm in late January, Rau’s father told him to give the pigs more hay. "I took three or four forkfuls and put it in the pigpen," he said. "The little pigs put their noses right under it and crawled underneath like a blanket." That single act, in 10-degree weather, built his character towards animals, he said.

"I had such a warm feeling after I did that," he said, "when I crawled into my feather bed, I never forgot it."

Something to crow about: "The most dominant is the winner"

By Jo E. Prout

ALTAMONT — Visitors to the Altamont Fair this year will hear a cacophony of sound coming from the poultry barn; a crowing competition begins Thursday.

Roosters, rather than people, will crow to establish their territory in three heats starting at 1 p.m. on Thursday, and continuing at the same time each day to the final round on Sunday.

"It’s a contest to see who has the rooster who crows the most. It’s supposed to be fun," said the assistant superintendent for the Poultry Department, Erika Marczak. "Many fairs have them."

Marczak said that roosters will be taken outside the poultry building, effectively giving them a new environment. The top two roosters that crow the most in 20 minutes will vie for the championship.

"The most dominant is the winner," Marczak said. "If you and I were hens, he’d be the winner," she told The Enterprise.

"We don’t have strict rules. Some people root their birds on," she said. "One woman in Voorheesville pretends she’s on the phone. That’s generally when her rooster starts to crow."

Rooting on one’s rooster "makes it more interesting and fun for the observers," Marczak said.

Marczak’s two roosters met sad fates this year, so hers are not entered. One rooster had a stroke.

"My rooster died over the winter, so I can’t enter," she said.

The other was the mascot at the Troy waterfront farmers’ market.

"He sadly disappeared," she said. Soon after his disappearance, a hen came out of the bushes with his offspring, but none of the little chicks are old enough to enter, Marczak said.

Poultry Superintendent Alice Zabel has at least one rooster among the dozen entered in the contest.

"It’s open to all ages," Marczak said. Exhibitors are allowed up to three roosters in the competition. Roosters from the exhibition will be included in the contest to help create more of a commotion among the competitors.

"You can enter just the crowing contest, or you can enter a bird you’ve had in the fair," Marczak said.

Rooster lore

"Some little birds don’t do a cock-a-doodle-do. They just do a little shriek," Marczak said. "Each crow is distinct and unique."

Roosters do not just crow in the wee hours of the morn.

"Whenever they’re establishing their territory"when they hear predators outside, they’ll start crowing," Marczak said. "Anytime they need to defend their territory."

She said that roosters sleep through the night and then begin crowing about one hour before dawn, earlier or later depending on the seasons. "They’ll crow all day long until they go to roost," she said. "They crow [to say], ‘This is my area and where I eat my food, so don’t bother us.’"

Chicken fans should watch for other competitions, too. The department sponsors poultry arts and crafts, like photography, paintings, decorative crafts, and poultry-themed garments. The Easter egg competition has three classes: decorated white eggs; decorated brown eggs; and blown decorated eggs, from which the yolk has been removed. The department also offers a poster competition.

The poultry department is planning to hold recipe contests for egg and chicken dishes for the 2008 fair, Marczak said.

The Outlaws play Altamont
"Solid, old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll"

By Rachel Dutil

ALTAMONT – Chuck Smith remembers the first time he saw The Outlaws; it was in Tallahassee in the mid-1970s. "They just blew me away," he said.

The next day, he went out and bought an eight track of their music. "I have been a fan ever since," he said.

Smith is the tour manager for the well-known southern rock band, which hails from Tampa, Fla., and will be making its first appearance at the Altamont Fair on Aug. 15.

The music is "solid, old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll," said drummer Monte Yoho, who has been with the band since its inception in 1970.

The Outlaws each went their separate ways in the mid-1980s – guitarist Hughie Thomasson went on to play with Lynryd Skynyrd, Henry Paul formed the country band Blackhawk, David Dix played with various jazz bands around Tampa, and Yoho moved to Branson, Mo. and played on the Branson Belle showboat.

"We all left, but we all grew tremendously," Yoho said.

The group got back together for a reunion tour in 2005, and has been playing around the country ever since, Yoho said.

The band includes original members Yoho, Thomasson, and Dix, along with Chris Anderson on guitar, and Randy Threet on bass.

The Outlaws, or Florida Guitar Army, as they also refer to themselves, will rock the grandstand at this year’s Altamont Fair Wednesday night.

"We have been to Albany many times over the past two decades," Yoho told The Enterprise. "We love Albany," he said. "It’s always a beautiful place to stay."

"The music is known as guitar music," Yoho said of Florida Guitar Army, which came about in the band’s early days because of the "strong guitar playing in our music."

Yoho himself has been playing music since he was about 12 or 13, he said. "I think I got caught up in the British invasion," he said, adding that it may have been the sight of Ringo Starr that turned him on to the drums.

Soon after, he said, he started a small band with Thomasson.

Different incarnations of The Outlaws began as early as 1967, Yoho remembered. But, the band "as everyone knows it" formed in 1970, he said.

The Outlaws cut their first album in 1975, and seven more followed on the Arista label, Yoho said. Their latest album, Once an Outlaw, "is one of the best works we’ve done to date," Yoho said.

Though the group plays mostly original music, occasionally, Yoho said, "We’ll look outside" to find music that is well-suited for the band that everyone really likes.

"Extended family"

Smith joined the band’s crew in 1981 as a guitar-check stage manager, and was called back for the reunion tour in 2005, he said.

"We’ve remained friends the whole time," he said of the relationship he has with the band.

Smith has been in the music business since 1979, he said. He has worked with bands of varying genres: southern rock, folk, jazz, country, heavy metal, and R & B, he said.

The band, he said, "is family."

"We’re like brothers, and respectful of each other," Smith said. "It’s just an extended family on the road," he said. "Everybody knows each other’s wives and kids."

Everyone does his job, and does it well, Smith said. "There’s no separation; basically, everyone’s equal," he said.

"It’s hard out here, traveling around," Yoho admitted. When he spoke to The Enterprise, the band was in Chicago, preparing to play at a street festival.

"When you get on the stage, and the lights go on, and you see thousands of people, it changes your chemistry," Yoho said. "It’s that feeling that keeps us coming back," he said, adding the euphoria makes a 12-hour day of flying worthwhile.

"My road manager is my memory bank," Yoho said of Smith, as he struggled to remember the last time The Outlaws came to Albany for a festival last year.

The show was moved from an outdoor venue inside to the Palace Theater, Yoho remembered with aid from Smith.

"It was packed; it was awesome," Yoho recalled.

The band recently completed a volunteer jam tour with the Charlie Daniels Band, and the Marshall Tucker Band, Yoho said.
"It was like old-home week," he said. "It was surreal to see everybody," he said, adding that The Outlaws had played with Charlie Daniels numerous times, but the two bands hadn’t played together in years. "Everyone was all grown up," he said with a laugh.

"Being a frustrated guitar player, I understand how good these guys are," Smith said. When asked how long he has been playing guitar, Smith responded, "I just play it; I’m not a player."

Smith said that, for him, seeing the audience respond to the music is one of the most rewarding parts of his job. "It’s always given me a thrill to see their excitement," he said.

Thomasson’s "style and fluidness" accented by Anderson’s guitar work, Smith said, is a "unique" aspect of The Outlaws.

"There’s nothing like a live performance," Smith said proudly.

"It’s a dream come true for me to be back with this band," said Yoho. "I’m very grateful," he said. "And I think I speak for everyone."

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