A group of kids swarmed to the front of the main stage at the Douglas County Fair to watch Steve Chaney and his puppet Corny Crow perform a ventriloquist comedy show Wednesday afternoon.

Corny Crow was the star of the show and coined its famous phrase, “Are you cereal?” throughout the show that earned him many laughs from the audience. Chaney cracked jokes and called on the audience to participate and learn how to be ventriloquists.

Briar Hester, 6, and his brother Talon Hester, 7, said they enjoyed the show.

“I loved the puppet because he was really funny,” Briar said.

Talon said he liked watching the interaction between Corny Crow and Chaney.

“I liked when he kept giving him the ball and he just kept spitting it out and back into the tub. That was funny,” Talon said.

Chaney said he performs at 300 shows every year. He lives in Roseburg but travels across the western United States to perform at school assemblies and county fairs.

“As I’m performing, watching kids laugh, it’s just invigorating and it’s a lot of fun. The kids don’t really see a lot of live ventriloquists around,” Chaney said. “So performing, I kind of show the kids how to do a little ventriloquism, so they get excited about that. They can drive their teachers crazy.”

He said this was the first year he was able to perform at the Douglas County Fair.

“I perform on the circuit from Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Idaho, and I’m always on the road, so this is the first time I’m performing at my home county — this is nice. I can sleep in my own bed,” Chaney said.

During the show, he called on audience members to participate and learn how to be ventriloquists.

Jaime Rivera, 15, volunteered to join Chaney on stage where he had her open her mouth and pretend to be a puppet. Then, he taught Jaime how to be a ventriloquist by singing her ABC’s and using a hand puppet.

“I was able to be a ventriloquist as well, without using my lips,” Rivera said.

At the end of the show, kids were invited to come up and give Corny Crow a high five. Trinity Harwood, 9, ran up to the stage with her sister Hailey Harwood.

“I think my favorite part was when he interacted with all the kids. It gives them something to do that’s not just rides and junk food,” Hailey said.

Chaney is performing at the fair on the main stage on Friday and Saturday afternoon.

Hannah Kanik is a general assignment reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at hkanik@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4210. Or follow her on Twitter @hannah_kanik.

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Hannah Kanik is the Charles Snowden intern at The News-Review.

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