SIDNEY — More than 75 comics will be performing at the Shelby County Fairgrounds on Aug. 23-25.
According to organizer Brooks Robinson, this is the second year for the event, which is being billed as “The Woodstock of Comedy.”
“This will be our first time in Shelby County,” said Robinson. “Last year we were at the A&E Camp Resort in Bellefontaine. The setup there wasn’t exactly what we were looking for.”
Robinson said he has since partnered with Kenny Heitman, of Sidney, and he suggested a new venue for the event — the Shelby County Fairgrounds.
“We talked to Jerry Schaffner (late fair secretary) and we decided this would be the perfect fit for us. Jerry was very excited to have us out there.”
Friday’s headliner will be Andy Breningo. With over 2,800 career performances, Beningo has established himself as one of the most in demand comedians working today. Hailed for his clean and “every man” style, Beningo has been named one of the 40 Best Up and Coming Comedians in the country, as well as “Best Comedian” by both the Detroit Metro Times and Detroit Hour magazine. His Dry Bar Comedy special, “Adorable Tough Guy” generated over one million views on social media in its first week of release. Andy has appeared on AXS TV’s Gotham Comedy Live, as a final four finalist on CMT’s Next Big Comic, and on the nationally syndicated Bob and Tom radio show. Andy’s new CD, “Quiet Coyote” regularly plays on Laugh USA on XM Sirius Radio. His rare ability to find humor in subjects like growing up the middle child, his short lived career as a middle school teacher and our society’s obsession with technology has made him a crowd favorite in audiences worldwide.
Saturday’s headliners are Rob Wilfong, Wendi Ferguson and Charlie Walker.
“Rob Wilfong is one of the main reasons why the festival started,” said Robinson. “We had gotten together to talk about comedy festivals. The idea of a comedy show, food trucks and vendors all together could be accomplished. We’d have a festival atmosphere at the event.
“We wanted to run it like a musical festival. He (Wilfong) was a huge help in putting it together,” he said.
A clever weirdo with a style of his own, Charlie Walker uses music and comedy to serenade his audiences with laughter. He has worked with many comedic and television personalities including Preston Lacy (MTV’s Jackass), Jacob Williams (Wild N Out), Jodi White, Michael Mack, and several others. He has also participated in other comedy festivals including The Tim Northern Comedy Festival and the Maumee Mary and Joseph Festival. As of June 2019 Charlie has relocated to the San Fransisco Bay, California. You can find Charlie on all social media platforms @WhatsaCharlie.
Wilfong is a one-of-a-kind Cincinnati funnyman who has spent the last several years traveling throughout the Midwest working in bars, lodges, theaters, and clubs crafting an act that is charmingly offbeat with a one-liner style that has been described as “hilariously vaudevillian-like.“ Delighting audiences everywhere he goes, Wilfong headlined the 2018 Live Laughs Comedy Festival in Ohio, featured at Dangerfield’s in New York City, performed with the USO Wounded Warrior Project, and is a regular on radio’s “Saturday Morning Funnies” aired on the West Coast. High energy antics and quick hits are trademarks of this experienced character-based comic.
She is short in stature but big on laughs! Wendi Furguson stands only 2-feet 10-inches tall but her wit and gusto are immeasurable. Furguson took the stage the first time on a dare. Not only did she win the dare, but she also found her passion in life, making people laugh. Since then she has travelled all over the United States from California to Florida. At one time she was the opening act for The Micro Wrestling Federation, doing comedy to warm up the audiences before the wrestling. No small feat for someone who can barely wobble across the stage.
Her comedy style blends sarcasm and observation with a hint of self deprecation. Furguson doesn’t have to make comedy. Comedy comes to her on a daily basis. She experiences life in a unique way and faces problems doing even the most mundane things that many take for granted. Don’t lose focus because she will throw out one-liners just as easily as the stories she loves to tell.
Furguson has shared the stage with comedians like Brad Williams, Vince Morris and Carlos Mencia and is currently one of the most sought- after comics in Ohio. Her charisma and charm make her the center of the universe wherever she goes. You can follow her on social media to witness her latest shenanigans and keep updated on her schedule.
Sunday’s headliner is Travis Charles, who is one of Dayton, Ohio’s funniest stand up comics. He has been performing in clubs and bars all over the country for well over a decade. With his unique brand of comedy you’re sure to have a blast.
“We’ll also have 75 comedians performing throughout the weekend,” said Robinson. “There’s a handful of comedians from Dayton and others are coming in from California, Colorado and from all over the country.”
Robinson said children won’t be turned away from the shows, but he recommends leaving children at home.
“We’ll let them in but there will be no refunds for children,” said Robinson. “I personally wouldn’t bring children to the shows.”
In addition to the comedy shows, there will be 10 food vendors and15 craft/direct sale vendors on site.
“All the food vendors, crafts and beer tent (Buckeye Vodka Barn) are free of charge,” said Robinson. “The only admission is to see the show. Comedy is a huge business and it’s only getting bigger. We hope to introduce the people in the community to comedy.”
Thee festival organizers have also partnered up with SCARF for the event.
“They have been a huge help,” said Robinson. Proceeds from the event will be donated to SCARF.
“We wanted to give back to an animal-related group and Jerry suggested SCARF.
SCARF (Shelby County Animal Rescue Foundation), he said, will have a kissing booth with dogs. And all cans from the weekend will be donated to SCARF’s Cans for Canines program.”
SCARF board member Julie Ehemann is “thrilled to partnering with Live Laughs Comedy.”
“I think anyone that has spent time with us knows that SCARF members like to have fun!” said Ehemann. “The comedy event is supporting SCARF with certain proceeds from the festival and is promoting SCARF on their website. Cans will be collected during the event and any proceeds from that will aid us in vet care for our shelter animals just as our Cans for Cats and Canines does now.
“SCARF members will be visible at the festival at our table and hope to add to the fun of the event with our Kissing Booth. We will have kissable dogs available Saturday afternoon and will accept cash donations in exchange for kisses,” said Ehemann. “SCARFIE is confirmed to be in attendance on Sunday afternoon; I am still hoping to have SCARFIE on Saturday too but have not found an available partner.”
Tickets for the event are $10 per day or $25 for all three days. Tickets can be purchased online at livelaughscomedy.com. Presale tickets will be available until tickets are sold out.
“Last year we had 300 people attend the festival, and w were under canopies and wearing ponchos all weekend because it rained,” said Robinson. “We had 786 presale tickets last year.
“The people who came last year thought it was neat to see and mingle with the comedians,” he said. “I’d look around and see a group of people talking with the comedians who weren’t performing at the time. We have a nontraditional meet and greet and people think it’s neat to hang out and talk with the comedians.”
Gates open on Friday at 2 p.m. with the show starting at 7 p.m. and lasting until 9 p.m. After Friday’s show, Kenny Ray, a local DJ, will be playing music in the Buckeye Vodka Barn.
Gates open at noon on Saturday and Sunday with the shows starting at 2 p.m. both days. Saturday’s show will end at 9 p.m. and Stage 3 Dilemma, a local band will be performing in the Buckeye Vodka Barn. Sunday’s show will end at 8 p.m.
Camping will also be available at the fairgrounds. Visit livelaughscomedy.com for more information.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.