Syracuse’s own Joe LaGuardia added another prestigious honor to his resume with his Oct. 9 induction into the International Entertainment Buyers association’s Hall of Fame. Longtime friend and colleague Bonnie C. Brosious, marketing director and talent buyer for the Great Allentown (Pa.) Fair, was selected to present the award to Carol LaGuardia, wife of the late former New York State Fair marketing director, but a family emergency kept her from attending the IEBA convention at the Sheraton Downtown Hotel in Nashville. Bonnie Sugarman, senior vice president of APA, Inc., a national talent agency, pinch hit, adding her own remarks to those composed by Brosious.
LaGuardia is the first inductee honored as a buyer for one fair, as most buyers represent talent-buying and show-producing firms. “Hall of Famers are distinguished living and deceased entertainment buyers, agents, artists, artist managers and historic venues,” Brosious explained. Also honored this year were country music pioneer Charley Pride and amusement business photographer and journalist Ray Pilszak.
Brosious’ prepared remarks related LaGuardia’s background as a Syracuse native, graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, journalist and marketing director at the New York State Fair for 32 years. “The magnitude and diversity of artists Joe brought to the Fair’s Grandstand is incomparable,” she wrote. “His entertainment savvy was renowned and Joe graciously shared his expertise with fellow talent buyers and producers. Joe more than earned the respect of agents, managers and artists with his professional negotiation practices, attention to rider details and most-appreciated dedication to making the day easy and comfortable when the buses and trucks pulled onto the fairgrounds.”
Since her husband died May 14, Carol LaGuardia has
accepted honors on Joe’s behalf from the IEBA, the State Fair and the
Syracuse Chiefs. An honor for this hometown hero in the form of
recognition from the Syracuse Area Music Awards (Sammys) is overdue and,
with the next Sammy event scheduled for March 8, organizers should
recognize LaGuardia with a lifetime achievement or Hall of Fame award.
Doubters, if there are any left, should just ask themselves to try
naming someone who has done as much as LaGuardia to bring the finest
musical acts in the world to Central New York.