SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Husband and wife team Bob Bone and Mariah Skinner provide knee-slapping entertainment for children of all ages at their Skin & Bones Comedy Circus. The performance is just one of the free attractions visitors to the Illinois State Fair will find just inside the Main Gate in Happy Hollow.
Bone, dressed in classic clown attire and makeup, performs a vaudeville-type comedy act to open the show. After several minutes of wrestling with a pesky microphone cord that seemingly will not “unstick” itself from his hands, legs and foot, Bone, the emcee, finally announces the stars of the show.
First on stage are two Vietnamese pot belly pigs, which happen to be sisters. The two little piggies perform a musical ensemble by blowing musical horns. However, the crowd soon discovers the hams are not only musically talented, but also athletically inclined. They can dribble a soccer ball like an Olympic soccer player. After Piggy Sue and Peggy Sue play a match, both girls take their bows, wave goodbye and make room for The Divas, three platinum blond Maltese dogs.
Cream Puff, Mini Pearl and Ms. Kitty, don’t blow horns, but they can tickle the ivories, accompanying Skinner while she sings a rendition of Happy Birthday. The pint-size Maltese also execute agility-type maneuvers between Bone and Skinner’s legs, jump through hoops and perform a comedy skit that leaves audience members in stitches.
When asked which is easier to train, the dogs or the pigs, Mariah replied, “The dogs are more motivated, but the pigs are quicker when it comes to learning their routines.
“The pigs might be quicker, but they are more temperamental than the dogs,” she added. “When the pigs aren’t happy, they defiantly let you know!”
One of the best aspects of the show is that some of the dogs performing were former rescue dogs or strays the couple adopted. They start training the dogs when they are six months old, and it takes about a year for all their animals to be show ready.
The Skin & Bones Comedy Circus is free and performs daily 12:30, 3:00, and 5:20 p.m.
Get Your NASCAR Fix at the Fair
Joining the informational and educational displays in the Department of Agriculture Tent this weekend will be Justin Allgaier’s #31 race car. Allgaier is not only a NASCAR racecar driver, but also a resident of Riverton, Ill. He started racing NASCAR in 2005 and began driving in the Nationwide Series in 2009, where he ranks fifth in the current standings. His car is appearing courtesy of Brandt Racing.
Even the auto races at the fair will have a taste of NASCAR. Star drives Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader have entered the second running of the UMP Modified Dirt Car Series Illini Dash on Saturday, Aug. 18. The 20-mile event will be run in conjunction with the USAC Tony Bettenhausen 100.