Words and music

Talents shine in Gold Country Fair competition
By: Bruce Warren, Journal Staff Writer
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Creatures were a major feature at the Gold Country Fair this year. And rock bands drew big crowds, too. “The two huge hits of the fair have been the tigers and the reptile exhibits,” fair spokeswoman Karen Spencer said Sunday. “Both events have been packed. We’ve had standing-room-only for Greg Kihn (Band) and Shane Dwight.” Temperatures on Saturday were hotter than Sunday. “It’s been hotter than last year, but people have been waiting until the evening,” Spencer said. Most of the folks interviewed at the fair were happy to be there, despite the heat. Dawn Burley from Roseville brought her two daughters, Tiffany and Trinity, who both decided they wanted a dance-head video of themselves. “They picked it out before we came,” Burley said. Originally from the Midwest, Burley considers herself a good judge of corn. “The corn is great,” she said. “I’m from Wisconsin, so I feel I know my corn.” The mechanical riding bull was a favorite for youngsters and adults. Sydney Elliott, 14, a freshman at Placer High School, rode the electric beast for a couple of minutes before sliding off onto a spongy pad. “It was fun but the seat makes you slide forward,” Sydney said. “Riding horses is a lot more fun than this.” Sydney said she’s been riding horses since she was 3½ years old. She also enjoyed listening to the group Aquanett at the fair. For Cynthia Compton of Sacramento, who has been coming to the fair for the past seven years, it’s all about the Demo Derby. “The smash-up derby is the kids’ area,” Compton said. “I wouldn’t miss the excitement of the smash-up derby.” One Auburn resident, Jeremy Perrier, was upset about the increased ride prices. “It’s the Auburn unfair,” Perrier said. “It’s $3 just for rides and I have to pay $3 to ride with my daughter. Now it’s $28 for a (entrance) bracelet. It used to be $20.” The rides were a big draw and so was the Boosters Talent Show. Maddie Manning, 11, received $100 for winning the Primary Division of the Boosters Talent Show and Marlise Dizon, 10, a fifth-grader at Rocklin Academy, placed second. Much to mother Kathy Manning’s dismay, Maddie was ready to spend all $100 of her award on rides. Maddie impressed the judges with her singing and dancing to the song “Freckles.” “I’m surprised I won, but I just got up there and performed,” Maddie said. “I really didn’t care about winning. I’ve been dancing for about 6½ years. I take lessons at In Sync Dance of Auburn.” Kathy Manning said it’s the first competition her daughter has entered. “She loves to dance,” Kathy Manning said. “She choreographed the show herself and picked out the song.” Marlise, who placed second behind Maddie, took second place in a bigger field at the 2008 State Fair amateur competition in Sacramento, she said. At the Gold Country Fair, Marlise sang the song “Popular” from the musical “Wicked.” “I’m taking hip hop and jazz lessons in Rocklin and I’m going to do tap,” Marlise said. One of the five judges, Kristi Fairrington, who was Miss Placer County Queen for 2008, was impressed with both girls’ talent. “Marlise and Maddie were both even on my scores,” Fairrington said. “Maddie had a lot of stage presence and is a very talented dancer.” Marlise’s older sister, Kristina Dizon, 13, won the Junior Division with a rendition of “Good Morning Baltimore,” from the musical “Hairspray.” “Kristina did an outstanding performance, more than what I expected,” said Patty Kennedy, talent director of the Placer County Fair. “I’ve also seen her perform on stage.” Kristina’s a member of the Rocklin Youth Theatre and her favorite play thus far is “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown,,” she said. She also participated in the Placer County Idol show. The Journal’s Bruce Warren can be reached at, or comment online at