PERRY -- About the only thing more fun than a bunch of monkeys is a bunch of highly trained monkeys.
A new and clearly popular show at the Georgia National Fair this year is Wild About Monkeys, where baboons display their high intelligence, loving nature and acting ability.
More than 300 people were delighted by the first of three shows Wednesday. Trainer Kevin Keith travels the country with the show, but this is his first time in Georgia.
Keith earned a college degree in exotic animal training and worked at animal parks for years before striking on out his own. While monkeys are fun, he said after the show, they also come with challenges.
They take a lot of care and a lot of time and a lot of expense, he said.
One of the shows stars, Dagney, was in a Super Bowl commercial for Sierra Mist in which Keith trained her to swim backward. The first baboon he brought out, Mickey, was in Rock of Ages, a movie starring Tom Cruise.
Keiths animals have been in many other commercials and films, and he said the time it takes to train them to do specific tasks varies. It took him about two weeks to train Dagney to swim backward.
One of the bits in the show is when Keith explains that when working with baboons on a film set, its important to show them who is boss, so he donned a black cap that said Boss on the front. But Dagney kept taking the hat off his head and putting it on hers.
Rosalyn Burns, of Quitman, was among those watching Wednesdays show. It was her first trip to the fair, and she said Wild About Monkeys was one of her favorite things she had seen.
I loved it, she said. It was so cute.
Michelle Treptow, director of communications for the fair, said the arena where the show is held seats 300 people, and when she has seen it, it has been full with many people standing.
People really seem to be enjoying it, she said.
You can guess that it is good when people are willing to stand to watch it.
The 30-minute show is held daily by the South Gate at 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.