Country is king with Delaware State Fair concert lineup

Hit country trio Rascal Flatts will make a return visit to the Delaware State Fair this summer. (Submitted photo)

HARRINGTON — A healthy dose of country, comedy and Christian and classic rock will greet Delaware State Fair concertgoers this summer.

Four country shows are scheduled for the fair, which officially runs July 20-29 but will, like last year, have a kickoff concert July 19 with emerging country stars Jon Pardi and Chris Lane.

Other country acts in the lineup are Darius Rucker on July 23, Rascal Flatts on July 25 and Brantley Gilbert with Luke Combs to wrap up the fair on July 29.

“We received feedback from our concertgoers last year that they wanted more country shows,” said Delaware State Fair Assistant General Manager Danny Aguilar.

“Also, many of the pop and rock artists just weren’t available on the dates we needed them. But with the country festivals (Big Barrel and Delaware Junction) going away, we thought it was a good chance to revisit more country acts. Typically, in the past we’ve had four country acts at the fair in a year, so we’re just continuing that tradition.

Other artists coming this year to Harrington are comedian Gabriel Iglesias on July 24, Christian acts Crowder with Big Daddy Weave on July 26 and a Rock of the ’70s show to go along with the Craft Brew Festival on July 22.

That concert will include Foghat, Pat Travers Band, Pure Prairie League, Rare Earth and Atlanta Rhythm Section.

Tickets for the Craft Brew Festival are $45, which includes the ’70s show, five tastings and extra servings for $2, or $35 for the show alone.

“I’m a ’70s baby so I’m excited for that show myself,” Mr. Aguilar said.

STATE FAIR LINEUP
July 19: Jon Pardi with Chris Lane $66-$31
July 20: Painted Pony Rodeo $10
July 21: Monster Truck Meltdown $20-$18
July 22: Craft Brew Festival w/ Rock of the 70s $45 (Festival) $35 (Show only) **
July 23: Darius Rucker $84-$44
July 24: Gabriel Iglesias $42-$32
July 25: Rascal Flatts $89-$54
July 26: Crowder w/ Big Daddy Weave $50-$25
July 27: Harness Racing
July 28: Demolition Derby $19-$17
July 29: Brantley Gilbert w/ Luke Combs $84-$44 **
** — Fireworks after the concert

“Plus anyone who has played Guitar Hero will know (Foghat’s) ‘Slow Ride’.”

Mr. Aguilar said he expects 20 breweries to participate with over 60 different selections. He also said more Delaware breweries will be involved than ever before.

Last year was the first year the fair held a kickoff concert. That show, with Jake Owen and Granger Smith, went over well, so Mr. Aguilar said they are doing it again this year. It will have free gate admission with no fair staples, like rides and displays, up and running.

“We found our concessionaires were set up anyway the day before so it was a great opportunity to get going a little bit early,” he said.

“Another thing is that a lot of the exhibitors who exhibit animals are really busy during the fair. So they enjoyed the opportunity to see a concert before they have to really get going.”

Mr. Pardi is part of a new crop of California country artists and Mr. Lane was recently seen on “The Bachelor” as one of the couples went to one of his concerts.

Mr. Iglesias will be bringing his “Fluffymania” tour to Harrington for the first time in a family-friendly comedy show.

Comedian Gabriel Iglesias brings his Fluffymania tour to the Delaware State Fair July 24. (Submitted photo)

“Last year’s Jeff Dunham show went over extremely well so we knew we wanted to get comedy back and we were lucky enough to get Gabriel Iglesias,” Mr. Aguilar said.

Both Mr. Rucker, Mr. Gilbert and Rascal Flatts are returning to the fair.

Mr. Rucker, former lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, who has now made it big in the country ranks, played the fair in 2009, Mr. Gilbert in 2014 and Rascal Flatts came to Harrington in 2005.

“All of those acts are well-connected artists with big followings and we’re excited to have them back,” Mr. Aguilar said.

Crowder is considered a Christian folktronica musician, blending folk and electronica sounds, while Big Daddy Weave is a Dove Award-winning five-piece band from Alabama.

This show continues a recent string of contemporary Christian shows at the fair, sponsored by The Bridge radio station.

“Those shows have a very loyal following and The Bridge has been a great partner. Folks seem to enjoy the Christian entertainment here at the fair,” Mr. Aguilar said.

The Loft will be available for the second year of concerts. It is a two-tiered VIP viewing stand, which also includes a premium seat or pit pass, private

Darius Rucker will headline a show at the Delaware State Fair July 23. (Submitted photo)

bathrooms, a cash bar and a VIP parking pass with the purchase of two VIP packages.

It will be in effect for every concert except the Craft Beer Festival show.

In an effort to be as interactive as possible, the Delaware State Fair will introduce the Fair 411 on its Facebook page to help folks get ready for the week with videos, stories and updates.

In fact, Wednesday’s announcement of concerts was first aired on the state fair’s Facebook Live page.

Other events in the grandstand this year are the Painted Pony Rodeo on July 20, Monster Truck Meltdown on July 21, harness racing on July 27 and a demolition derby on July 28.

Fireworks will happen after the Craft Beer Festival on July 22 and the closing night Brantley Gilbert show on July 29.

Tickets to all events go on sale Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. on DelawareStateFair.com.

Rising country star Jon Pardi, along with Chris Lane, will play the fair’s kickoff concert July 19. (Submitted photo)

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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