Big Fresno Fair performers each leave mark on Fresno history

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Organizers of the Big Fresno Fair said their goal is not just to bring in world class performers. Some go for the food, others the games, but it's the concerts and entertainment that draw many back year after year. (KFSN)

Organizers of the Big Fresno Fair said their goal is not just to bring in world class performers. Some go for the food, others the games, but it's the concerts and entertainment that draw Matt Pantages back year after year.

"Every show is different," Pantages, who is the Paul Paul Theatre manager, said. "And every night requires different things."

For about two decades, Pantages has worked frontstage and backstage at the fair helping the Paul Paul Theatre evolve and making memories with the various entertainers passing through.

"The Diana Ross Show," he said. "We were told by her management team she's not to make eye contact, so that was a unique one for us. So we had to make sure if we met her or dressed her, that we didn't look her in the eyes."

Organizers said their goal is to bring in larger acts each year and that starts with improving the theatre. This year the focus was on the backstage area.

"We tore out all the carpet in all the dressing rooms," deputy manager Stacy Rianda said. "Just trying to make it easier, cleaner, a nicer environment for the entertainers."

These small touches can be spotted along the perimeter of the theatre. There are signs honoring artists who have set foot here as well as businesses that enriched Fresno's history.

"There are signs that have meaning to a lot of people who lived her and spent their lives here," Rianda explained.

And organizers said that's what the concerts are really for, to draw people into the Big Fresno Fair so they can share the charm and history of this county.

"So, there are lots of educational experiences around the fairgrounds," Rianda said. "The entertainment is just kind of a hook to get them here."
Related Topics:
societybig fresno fairsocietyfresnomusicFresno
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