BANGOR, Maine — Most of those who arrived early to get front-row seats for the Dick Stacey’s Country Jamboree Reunion — the featured musical performance at the Bangor State Fair — have fond memories of the TV show of yesteryear.
“It was a Saturday night ritual,” said Judy Goodwin of Franklin, who arrived early for the show with fellow fan and husband, Gerald Goodwin.
The couple named off several performers they enjoyed from the show, which was on the air for more than a decade — from 1973 to 1984. The low-budget show was produced locally and was a Saturday night staple that had television viewers tuning in throughout the region.
“Dick was a real nice fellow,” Gerald Goodwin said. “He would give [performers] a chance” to perform for a live audience.
Saturday’s special reunion jamboree featured some of the most memorable performers from the show and a few special guests.
The list included jamboree veterans Don Nickerson and his band Country Mist, Charlie and Rita Tenan, Vern Robinson, Rich and Nancy Stacey, Debbie (Thompson) Pelletier, Peter D., Rodney Hurd, Archie Rivers and Jeff Simon.
Special guests were Canadian country music star and Nashville recording artist Joan Kennedy, who is Dick Stacey’s daughter-in-law, and balladeer Dave Pike from Massachusetts.
The old-time show’s most famous performer, Jennie Shontell, who was known for her performance of “Wings of a Dove” was missing from Saturday’s performance. She died several years ago.
Janie Lander of Guilford said she watched the show when she was a baby-sitting teenager and remembers it fondly.
“I would watch it because there was nothing else on the TV,” she said. “It was very funny.”
Don and Donna Spaulding of Easton, who lived in Bangor for 45 years and were once patrons at Dick Stacey’s, brought along their granddaughter Jill Nickerson of Portland to the show.
“I don’t know who they are,” the youngest member of the family said.
“I’d like to see them again,” Don Spaulding said. “I know they’ve aged.”
For Cecile Barlow of Fort Kent, who arrived with her husband, John Barlow, who grew up in New Hampshire and never saw the jamboree on TV, attending the show is all about memories.
“I used to watch them every Saturday night with my mom,” who has passed, she said. “I wish she was here.”
Watching Dick Stacey’s jamboree was a family affair, she remembers fondly.
Along with her mom, “my father, brothers and sisters” would watch, said Cecile Barlow. “That was the Saturday night thing.”
Along with fans of the old-time show, a dozen of Dick Stacey’s family and at least one former employee attended the show. In the front row, center, was Melissa Melvin of Bucksport, who once worked for Stacey. She sat with her daughter Madison Dorr, 6, and Dick Stacey’s grandson A.J. Stacey, also 6, and niece Danielle Stacey, all of Bangor. Other family members were selling CDs and milling around the grandstands.
The audience also included hundreds of Canadian fans, many of whom came to Bangor by tour bus.
The Goodwins came to Bangor just for the show but enjoyed the fair; both were included in the $10 ticket.
“We haven’t been to the fair in at least 30 years,” Judy Goodwin said, adding it was fun walking around.
“We’ve seen a lot of people we haven’t seen in a while,” her husband added.