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Barnyard Cackle Review coming to Pitt County Fair

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By Kim Grizzard

Friday, September 14, 2018

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, especially during hurricane season.

Weather permitting, the Pitt County American Legion Agricultural Fair will open Tuesday. Canceled following Hurricane Floyd in 1999, the fair has managed to go on almost every year for nearly a century.

“I think back there in the early 1940s or 30s they got rained out,” Manager Kenneth Ross said. “So it’s probably twice we haven’t been able to have it.”

Ross was cautiously optimistic earlier this week that after the massive hurricane has passed, the fair might still have its moment in the sun.

“We don’t really know about the weather,” he said as forecasters were predicting damaging winds and potentially catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Florence.”We can’t do anything about God’s work.”

Barnyard Cackle Review Owner Tammy Peters understands what it is like to face circumstances beyond her control. She was set to bring her act to the Pitt County Fair last year, but she had to cancel due to an illness.

The interactive comedy show features animatronic chickens that tell — what else? — chicken jokes.

Why did the chicken cross the road halfway?

She wanted to lay it on the line.

Rocky Da Rooster and his singing hens — Tanya Clucker, Loretta Hen, Patty Eggless, MacEggtire, Patsy Coop and Sh’nia Twang — sing familiar tunes with slightly scrambled lyrics. “Bust down that chicken wire; baby my heart’s on fire,” Rocky crows in the Barnyard Cackle Review version of “Hello, My Baby.”

Traveling with the show, Peters has watched kids, including some who have just toured live poultry exhibits, stare in awe when the show birds emerge from their crates on stage.

“Their mouths drop open and they look and they look. They’re not sure really what they are,” she said, laughing. “Then all of a sudden they’ll break out in a big smile. The little kids will start clapping their hands and stomping their feet.”

The review includes four different shows that are designed to be educational and entertaining. Each one ends with “The Chicken Dance.”

“People are invited to sing along, dance along, whatever they’d like to do,” Peters said.

A former United Way executive, Peters first saw this poultry-in-motion act at a trade show a decade ago. Her Massachusetts-based company, North Pole Productions, was traveling the country with Christmas light shows when she hatched a plan to add the Barnyard Cackle Review. Since 2011, the show has traveled three fourths of the country to be featured at state and county fairs from Iowa to Florida.

“There’s nothing else like it traveling the fair and festival circuit,” Peters said. “This is a one-of-a-kind show.

“It’s good, wholesome, family entertainment,” she said. “A lot of fair managers and board members think this is a show for children, but the funny part is it’s actually the parents and the grandparents that get the jokes.”

Peters recalls watching a senior adult man looking quizzically at the show at a fair in New York.

“(He) said to me, ‘Is that your show?’ And I said, ‘Yes, sir, it is,’ and I was scared to death what was going to come out of his mouth.

“He said, ‘I’m 82 years old. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. Good job,’” Peters said, laughing. “I was so thrilled that an 82-year-old man would think that highly of the show. Made my day, really made my day.”

Shows last 8 to 10 minutes each and begin on the hour and the half hour. Between shows, kids can approach the act, push a button, and hear one of more than two dozen chicken jokes.

Is chicken soup good for your health?

Not if you’re a chicken.

If the show does go on, Ross hopes it will be good for families who have endured stressful days due to Hurricane Florence.

“I want the families to come out here and enjoy themselves and have a good time with the kids,” he said. “That’s the big thing.”

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