The Day Sonny and Cher Visited Fair Park

Sonny and Cher in front of the Fair Park Coliseum
Sonny and Cher in front of the Fair Park Coliseum
Photo by Skip Shoffner, courtesy Philip Shoffner

It's quite likely that many Friends of Unfair Park recall O. V. "Skip" Shoffner, who, his son Philip reminds, was a longtime mail carrier in Lakewood -- for more than 30 years. Skip was also a regular at the Gold Rush, whose owner, George Sanchez, considered him "a wonderful person, a kind soul and great friend." Skip lived here all his life -- grew up on Casa Loma, went to Crozier Tech, an "all-around East Dallas rat," says his son. He died in August.

In recent days, Philip has begun cleaning out his father's home, which is why he wrote me. The son stumbled across his father's collection of photos, among them several taken at Fair Park, not all during the State Fair of Texas. Writes Philip:

"Fair Park was in his blood. Instead of going on family vacations every year, he would always work at the fair. He started off working at Youngblood's Chicken and then later for the Cuellar brothers running their Big Tex stand until El Chico became the Old Mill Inn. He was good friends with Jim Lowe, the longtime voice of Big Tex, and I will never forget Big Tex always saying, 'Howdy, Skip Shoffner' when I would go to the fair as a kid. I grew up thinking that Big Tex knew my dad. He always did like reading your blog, especially about the past."

Philip kindly directs our attention to some snapshots of his dad working the State Fair of Texas. He also sent the photo you see above. Philip wondered when it might have been taken. Best I can tell: the winter of 1966-'67. Says here that Sonny and Cher came to Dallas on December 27, 1966, for a KBOX-sponsored concert at Memorial Auditorium. A few days later, on January 1, 1967, they returned to ride in the Cotton Bowl Parade.

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