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'Are You Smarter Than a Fair Goer?"

Crowd puts county knowledge to the test at annual dinner

Crowd puts county knowledge to the test at annual dinner

September 07, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Wearing a tuxedo and hairpiece that looked borrowed from a bad Las Vegas lounge singer, L. Michael Ross squeezed his way through the crowd Thursday night at The Orchards looking for contestants for the game show "Are You Smarter Than a Fair Goer?"

"We went to the Franklin County Fair a few weeks ago to interview real people about what they know about Franklin County ... and they did not disappoint me," Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., told about 450 people at the 21st annual Industry Appreciation Dinner.

Ross' victims in the audience of business people and politicians were asked a few questions to see how they stacked up against video clips of people at the fair. The first contestant had no trouble naming the county seat, Chambersburg, but not so for the folks at the fair.

"Democrat?" guessed one woman.

"Cumberland?" a man speculated.

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How many stripes on the United States flag?

"Like 20," one man said.

The queries got tougher, including "Name the lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania."

"I knew who it used to be," said the man that Ross picked from the crowd.

"Used to be don't count," said Ross, although that was better than the fairgoers' responses, which included, "Is he Russian?"

Answer: Catherine Baker Knoll.

"She makes the governor of Louisiana (Kathleen Blanco) look like Thomas Jefferson," quipped Ross, who for unknown reasons adopted the name "Mr. Tibbs" for this year's shtick. Assistant Dave Mackley, as "Bosco," handed out the prize T-shirts portraying County Commissioners Bob Thomas, Cheryl Plummer and G. Warren Elliott as, respectively, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig.

Part of the attraction of the annual event to honor local industries is to see what Ross has up his sleeve for the evening's entertainment. Past efforts have included Ross in drag as a magician's assistant; a bald Ross in a parody of Howie Mandel's "Deal or No Deal;" an ersatz Italian general as guest speaker; an appearance by a Bill Clinton look-a-like; and a Robin Williams impersonator.

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