Around the Delaware State Fair – from A to Z

The Delaware State Fair officially opened its gate to visitors Thursday morning. This year’s fair features its usual assortment of rides, food, concerts, competitions and exhibits for all ages.  (Delaware State News/ Mike Finney)

The Delaware State Fair officially opened its gate to visitors Thursday morning. This year’s fair features its usual assortment of rides, food, concerts, competitions and exhibits for all ages. (Delaware State News/ Mike Finney)

Raise the tents, start collecting those blue ribbons and dig into the all the fattening food you can stomach — the Delaware State Fair is underway in Harrington.

Officially starting Thursday, with a preview concert by Jake Owen Wednesday, the 2016 edition of the annual Downstate tradition runs until July 30.

Thanks to good weather, a mix of new entertainment offerings and traditional agriculture favorites, the 2015 Delaware State Fair attendance hit 311,000, an increase of 10 percent over the previous year.

Officials hope for the same combination this year with even more folks rolling through the turnstiles.

With that in mind, here’s our annual alphabetical look of what folks can expect during this year’s days of fun.

A – Country legends Alabama will bring their litany of hits to the M&T Bank Grandstand Monday at 7:30 p.m.

The Country Music Hall of Fame group has had over 30 No. 1 records on the Billboard charts and has sold over 75 million records, making them one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time

Tickets are $84-$45.

Best Bets logo -NEWB – The always-popular Birthing Center will be set up on Arena Avenue from Wednesday until July 30.

Spectators may get to witness the birth of a calf, and stay to see it take its first steps. This exhibit aims to educate on the miracle of life through livestock.

C – The fair’s second Craft Beer Festival returns July 30 featuring Blues Traveler with Sussex County’s own lower case blues, starting at 6 p.m.

A music-only ticket is $25. A craft beer ticket is $35, which includes music with five beer tickets and a souvenir cup.

You must be 21 or older and show a valid ID to receive a wristband and tasting tickets.

If you have the music-only ticket, throughout the evening you can purchase the Craft Beer Package add-on for $10 (includes five beer tickets and a souvenir cup).

Additional beer tickets can be purchased for $2 each.

It will take place in the area of the M&T Bank Grandstand.

D – The demolition derby, presented by Manlove Auto Parts, crashes into the M&T Bank Grandstand tonight at 7.

The annual event is always a popular one for young and old. Tickets are $16-$18.

E – The Entertainment Tent is on the move this year to the Farm Machinery Lot toward the back of the grounds.

It will be home to Catherine Hickland’s hypnotism show, concerts, the Kids’ Health Fair, the Pig Kissin’ Contest, the Battle of the Brews and more.

F – The contemporary Christian band For King & Country will entertain Tuesday night starting at 7:30. They will bring along opening acts Sidewalk Prophets and Jordan Feliz.

The Smallbone brothers from Australia were an opening act last year for Casting Crowns but this year they are the main attraction with their anthem-like sound and blazing light show.

Tickets are $20-$45.

G – Delaware’s own George Thorogood cranks it up July 29 at 7:30 p.m. with Fabulous Thunderbirds.

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Delaware’s George Thorogood plays the state fair for the first time this year.

Known for his originals like “Bad to the Band” and “I Drink Alone” and covers such as “Move it on Over” and “Who Do You Love?,” the Brandywine High grad will make his Delaware State Fair debut to what is sure to be a welcoming crowd.

Tickets are $34-$74.

H – Harness racing, presented by Harrington Raceway and Casino, has become a nighttime staple of the Delaware State Fair over the last few years.

It will take place during the customary Governor’s Day slot Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Grandstand.

I – An ice skating show, presented by PNC Bank, will be presented by local youngsters at the Centre Ice Rink on the grounds of the state fair every evening at 6 and 8.

J – Comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham returns to the state fair Saturday night at 8.

One of the most popular comics working today, Mr. Dunham was previously at the state fair in 2013 and brings his “Perfectly Unbalanced” tour to the fair this year.

Tickets are $44-$59.

K – Children can show off their baking skills when the Kids Using Cake Mix Competition takes off at Exhibit Hall Tuesday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

L – Hot country act Little Big Town lands at the fair Sunday night at 7:30 with special guest Kristian Bush.

Little Big Town was supposed to play the fair last year but an illness in the band prevented that from happening so they are back this year to make up for it on the strength of their hit album “Pain Killer.”

Little Big Town plays the fair Sunday night with Kristian Bush. (Submitted photo)

Little Big Town plays the fair Sunday night with Kristian Bush. (Submitted photo)

Mr. Bush, one half of Sugarland, played the fairgrounds last year during the now-defunct Delaware Junction country music festival.

M – In its fourth year, the Marketplace Tent is home to a varied collection of vendors.

The Marketplace opens at 11 a.m. and closes daily at 11 p.m..

N – Needlework of all sorts is on display in the Dover Building.

Quilts, clothing and hats are just some of the handcrafted items for fair patrons to view.

O – The Oldiewed Game Show will pit senior couples to see who knows each other better. That’s set for Monday from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Entertainment Tent.

P – The Procrastinators, new to the fair this year, are three drummers who turn five-gallon water bottles, barstools and pots and pans into musical instruments while jumping, sliding, twisting and stomping their way through a fast and furious rhythmic show.

They can be seen throughout the fair on The Plaza.

Q – Quench your thirst at The Roost: Beer & Wine Garden.

Along with serving Delaware-made wines and craft and domestic beers, a new feature is food by Harrington Raceway and Casino’s Bonz Restaurant.

Featuring live entertainment, it is open daily from 3 to 11:30 p.m. Any ages are welcome but minors must be accompanied by an adult.

R – Rachel Platten joins X Ambassadors and A Great Big World for a show Wednesday night at 7.

Ms. Platten has hit it big this year with her inspirational tune “Fight Song” and also a current hit in “Stand By You.”

Tickets are $39-$79.

S – The youth-geared Shoebox Float Contest allows kids from around the state to show off their craft skills in creating

Luke, left, and Joel Smallbone, better known as the Christian music group For King & Country, will play the Delaware State Fair July 26 with Sidewalk Prophets and Jordan Feliz. (Submitted photo)

Luke, left, and Joel Smallbone, better known as the Christian music group For King & Country, will play the Delaware State Fair July 26 with Sidewalk Prophets and Jordan Feliz. (Submitted photo)

a themed “mini-float”. This event takes place in the Dover Building Monday at 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

T – The Think Pink! Flower Arranging Contest is where competitors go all pink as they theme their creations around the color and compete to have the best “Think Pink” arrangement.

The event will take place at the Entertainment Tent Monday from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

U – Under the big top, you’ll find Circus Hollywood.

Acrobats, exotic animals and stunts are just a few of the attractions you’ll find at this family favorite located in the Sponsor Court

The show runs twice a day at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. with a 12:30 show added today through Sunday, Tuesday and July 29-30.

V – Victory will be sweet as the FFA Awards Ceremony takes place July 29 at 9 a.m. in the Entertainment Tent.

Awards will be given to FFA members for their participation in various events.

W — The Wool Lead Line Contest is a fashion show for both people and sheep.

Exhibitors compete by displaying their wool outfits, and coordinating them with their wool sheep.

The event takes place Sunday, at 7:30 p.m. in the Kent Building.

X – The X-Pogo Stunt Team, new this year, is an extreme pogo demo crew featuring championship pro athletes flying over 10 feet in the air on extreme pogo sticks, throwing down flips and tricks.

They will be featured on The Plaza throughout the fair.

Y – The Youth Pedal Tractor Pull, presented by Hoober’s, will go into its ninth year Tuesday in the Machinery Lot at 2 p.m.

Z – Zucchini, squash, tomatoes and all sorts of homegrown and fresh picked produce from all around Delaware are sure to be found in the Garden Vegetable Department.

A coveted blue ribbon is on the line for those who enter their edible prized picks.

Fair gates open at 8 a.m. each day. The Wade Shows carnival area opens at 1 p.m.

Admission is $9 for adults 13 and older and $4 for youths 6-12; children 5 and younger receive are admitted free.

For concert tickets and more information, visit DelawareStateFair.com.

Now Showing

New this weekend in theaters is the next chapter in the sci-fi saga “Star Trek Beyond 3D,” the horror film “Lights Out” and the animated sequel “Ice Age: Collision Course.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the Melissa McCarthy comedy “The Boss,” Ice Cube in “Barbershop: The Next Cut” and “Criminal” with Kevin Costner.

To share news of your entertainment event, venue or group, contact Craig Horleman at 741-8224 or chorl@newszap.com.

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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