This story was originally published April 8, 1998
Cres Ottemiller enjoyed telling the story of Tammy Wynettes only appearance at the York Fair.
Wynette and another country music legend, George Jones, were booked for the final grandstand show of the 1980 fair.
"At the time, he had been going through some personal problems," Ottemiller said. "His nickname was No-Show Jones. He had a reputation for not showing up or doing short shows."
Wynette, who died Monday at age 55, and Jones had been married for a time, and had performed with each other often. Even after their divorce, they toured together.
"We thought it would be an entertaining show; we decided to book them," said Ottemiller, the fairs entertainment director and a longtime member of the its entertainment committee.
The night of the show came, Wynette started the show with two or three songs, then introduced Jones.
So far, so good.
"He came out with his band, did about 10 minutes and then walked off," Ottemiller said. "Well, Tammy came back out and said, George will be right back.' Not long after that we were standing behind the grandstand we saw George get in his bus and leave the fairgrounds."
The Daily Record's account of the show reported a "raspy" Jones had laryngitis that forced him to end his solo part of the show early. He apologized for his fading voice and for the guitar strings that kept
"Regardless, most of Jones' contemplative tunes were received politely by two audiences totaling 7,075," the story stated.
That's not quite the way Ottemiller remembers it.
"He left, and she came out and ended up doing the rest of the show by herself," he said. "To this day, we laugh about it. George will be right back.' We all waited for George, but he never came back."