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Unless you're a six-footer, shooting in a crowd - at concerts, state fairs, movie premiers, etc. - can be a real challenge. Photojournalists, however, have gotten around this problem for ages using a simple trick.
Set your lens to wide angle, hold your camera up high, and point it in the general direction of your intended subject. Then just snap away. With practice, you can get pretty good at catching scenes that would otherwise have gotten away.
Some digital cameras - notably several "superzoom" models - have an even more elegant solution. They feature an LCD screen that swivels. You can turn the screen and angle it downwards so you can view your subject clearly - even with your camera held high over your head. This way, you can even use your digital camera's telephoto settings, so you can zoom right in on your subject.
Although I'm 6' tall, I frequently use this trick with my Panasonic FZ-50 superzoom. It comes in handy at zoos (shooting over barriers), Disney World (shooting over crowds) and anywhere else I may not have a clear view of something interesting.
If you'd prefer a digital SLR, but think this handy feature would be important to you, both Nikon and Olympus currently offer models with a swiveling LCD screen.