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Gilford family wins big on 'Family Feud'

The Frates Family poses with “Family Feud” host Steve Harvey. From left to right, Lyall and Amelia (Frates) Hamilton-Miller; Steve Harvey; and Joan, Larry, and Oliver Frates. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
October 17, 2012
A local family recently took home more than $20,000 after appearing on "Family Feud."

Members of the Frates family competed against other families on the famous game show that aired on WHDH-TV Channel 7 on Thursday and Friday.

Larry and Joan Frates of Gilmanton Iron Works appeared with daughter Amelia of Gilford and son Oliver of Raymond and Amelia's husband Lyall Hamilton-Miller on four episodes.

Larry and Joan Frates own and operate Frates Creative Arts Center in Laconia. Amelia Hamilton-Miller teaches dance at the center and also works as an on-air personality on 105.5 WJYY. Lyall Hamilton-Miller works for Laconia Athletic and Swim Club. Oliver Frates received a Master's degree in Puppetry from the University of Connecticut, and recently received a Master's in Business from Norwich University. He now works for Fidelity Investments.

The family was initially submitted to "Family Feud" by Tekla Frates, Larry and Joan's daughter and Amelia and Oliver's sister, who lives in the Boston area. Around March, Tekla got the word that the family had been accepted for the audition process.

On April 1, the Hamilton-Millers' anniversary, the family traveled to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut for the audition.

"We just had fun," Amelia Hamilton-Miller said. "At that point, we just thought 'This is so silly,' we thought it would be a fun day with the family."

In May, the family got the call that they would be appearing on the show.

The taping was on May 17. In the few weeks leading up to it, family members practiced answer responses.

The questions on "Family Feud" are surveys put up, and people are polled on the answers. The questions are not trivia questions with correct or incorrect answers but on what people answered in the poll.

The family practiced for the format of the game. Friends also had "Family Feud" apps and board games that helped with the process.

The family traveled to California for the taping. In the first episode they went against the Freemont family from Douglasville, Ga.

"It was really fun," Amelia said. "We just had so much fun, you really were just playing a game."

She said the families got along great and it was fun getting to spend time with host Steve Harvey

"It was like a party; it was like you just went, you played games," Larry Frates said.

"Steve Harvey was a genuinely nice person," Joan Frates said.

Joan said the director would go to each family and give them a pep talk

Harvey went to all the family members and asked some questions. During Thursday's show he seemed surprised when he learned of Oliver's masters degree in Puppetry. Joan also showed off some tapdance steps.

"You never knew what was going to come out of somebody's mouth," Larry said.

They won the game with a score of 285 points to 73 points when Larry answered the question "Name a sound that people can hear a lot of in New York City" with "gunshots." Oliver and Lyall then answered the last round of questions, the results winning the family $20,000.

"It was just so overwhelming, we were almost just beyond belief," Amelia said.

After taxes, the money was split seven ways, including the team members and Tekla.

The Frates' appeared on three more episodes. They won the second game against the Jackson family of Lancaster, Texas and won around $500 in the final round of questions. They did not win the third game, and the fourth had yet to air by press time.

"We still had a lot of fun," Amelia said.

The first episode aired on Thursday.

"We had friends all over, people were texting us as we're watching it, 'Tell us the outcome,'" Amelia said.

Some of the parents coming in for dance lessons that day also expressed their excitement.

The remaining episodes aired on Friday, Monday, and Tuesday.

Town of Brookfield
Martin Lord Osman
Town of Brookfield
Varney Smith
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