Overnight line ups to get tickets for special events are not uncommon. However, parked at the Rockton Fairgrounds for an entire week, was a camper waiting for the line to open on Saturday (Feb 7) for tickets to the Rockton Agricultural Association’s Dinner Theatre.
Jim Hollands from Hamilton was determined to be first in line and there was good reason to camp. There were 19 cars in the parking lot by 7:30 am and 33 numbers were handed out as soon as the doors opened.
“I get first selection of which night I want to come, and also first selection of the table,” said Hollands. “And I like to be in the front row.”
Around 10 years ago, he can’t recall exactly, Hollands was persuaded by a friend to attend the dinner theatre and has been coming back since. This year, his group purchased 250 tickets.
“You could tell they are having fun. They make it as fun as can be.” ~ Jim Hollands
He enjoys the homeliness of the play and the fact that the actors were not professionals but “you could tell they are having fun. They make it as fun as can be.”
“And they kinda recognize me, most of them do,” he quipped. “The idiot that camps.”
Aside from the play, Hollands is drawn to the event by the home cooked roast beef dinner and the variety of pies that you could savour after the meal. Ed Podmokly, who has been to the play for 23 years, agreed.
“One year I had 13 pieces of pie and not one was the same,” said Podmokly.
This year saw the return of local writers to the show. There was a decline in the past two years as the production was having trouble finding local writers and turned to a professional production instead.
Pam Smith, who performed in the first production 34 years ago and directing this years play thought the MC that came along with the professional shows tried to be comedic but wasn’t very funny. In the past, there had been local content and local jokes depending on the writers.
“It wasn’t what we were looking for at all, it wasn’t very good,” said Podmokly referring to the professional show. He attended the first and skipped the second show.
“When they decided they wanted to go back to the homegrown format then we were anxious to come back,” said Hollands, who skipped both professional shows.
For 31 years, the play was situated in a fictional town called “Rock Bottom”. As there was a change of writers, they didn’t want to continue with the theme.
The play for this year is situated in Stoneborough and entitled “Date Squares and Pound Cake”.
“It’s an opportunity for an evening of good food, fun local entertainment that can rival anything you get in downtown Toronto,” said Smith.
Writers for this year include Eleanor Wood, Carol Ottmann, Jeanette Jamieson, Karen McKnight, Heather Dillon, Helen Hunter and Pam Smith.
The play starts March 26th and costs $32.50 a ticket.