Baboons monkey around at Georgia National Fair

wcrenshaw@macon.comOctober 9, 2013 

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 show’s 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.

Keith’s 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, it’s 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 Wednesday’s 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.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service