The biggest show in the city this year just might be a ventriloquist act.

The Paramount Theatre and Vermont State Fair announced Tuesday that comedian Jeff Dunham would headline the fair with a show set for Aug. 18. Tickets start at $50 for grandstand general admission. Fair association president Robert Congdon said Dunham was the biggest name to play the fair in “quite a while.”

“This is awesome,” Congdon said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity. We’re very grateful to the Paramount and Catamount Radio for coming alongside us. We couldn’t be happier.”

While the Paramount has done well with big-name comedy acts, Dunham was a step above what the 850-seat theater could handle on its own.

“When you start talking about acts of this caliber, it’s always more challenges,” he said. “Fortunately, when we have the fair’s grandstand available, that makes it easier.”

Mallette said the grandstand’s 4,100-person capacity puts it much closer to Dunham’s average ticket sales of 5,000 per show.

“The Paramount’s excited to be working yet again on the grandstand,” Mallette said. “Years ago, we presented Bill Engvall with tremendous success. We’re excited to give this opportunity to the community.”

Dunham, who does ventriloquist routines with a variety of dummies, is best known for appearances on late-night television and Comedy Central specials.

With COVID restrictions lifted by the state, the fair has announced a full slate of grandstand entertainment, including two demolition derbies and what Congdon says will be the first rodeo within the city limits in at least 25 years. He also said summer activities at the fairgrounds, including the RAVE car show, Relay for Life and Fourth of July demolition derby, have been greenlit.

On top of that, Congdon said truck and tractor pulls would return and further attractions would be announced in the coming weeks.

“We are forging ahead,” he said.


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City Reporter

Gordon has been a reporter for the Rutland Herald for nearly 20 years. A Castleton State College graduate, he's covered beats from the West county to the city, cops and courts and everything in between.

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