The baton was passed last night at the Mississippi Valley Fair annual Christmas party.
All eyes were on Shawn Loter (at left in feature photo) as he stepped up to the podium to address the audience of fair board members, staff, volunteers and other supporters. Loter, who the fair board named to succeed retiring General Manager Bob Fox (at right in photo), thanked the fair board for a “dream come true” opportunity. Loter said he’s worked at the fair for 29 years, first starting as a parking assistant at age 13 and shifting to full time right out of high school. He said he dreamed of the opportunity to lead the fair held annually in early August in Davenport, IA, and thanked Fox for helping him learn the ropes.
Fox was noticeably low key as he gave his brief farewell remarks. It is sort of surprising for a guy that juggled all the hoopla of one of Iowa’s biggest county fairs for the past 20 years. But it seemed heartfelt as he thanked the audience for showing him and his family kindness over the years. “Now it is time to say thank you, good bye, and God bless all of you,” Fox said.
Sean Loter will take over as general manager on January 1. Likely one of his first
duties will be to finalize the 2017 Mississippi Valley Fair grandstand acts. Office manager Vicky Speth told me that WLLR/Pepsi #1 Club passes released earlier this month haven’t yet sold out because she thinks fans may be reluctant to buy the passes until they know the performers. “They’ll sell out as soon as we announce more acts,” she said.
Thumbs up to the first artist named, Randy Houser, who Loter confirmed will be at next summer’s fair. Houser was thrust into the limelight in 2008 when David Letterman gave him a performance slot after hearing him on satellite radio. Houser has had a string of hits including Anything Goes, Boots On, How Country Feels and my favorite, Like a Cowboy. Oh, and he also gets credit for co-writing none other than Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.
And speaking of big radio hits and WLLR, it was fun to reconnect with program director Jim O’Hara who I interviewed last summer when I visited the station. It was nice to meet his wife Jeanne, too, and introduce him to my husband Dan who is on the fair board. Read my post about WLLR.
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