Sugarland, Gilbert highlight acts coming to Delaware State Fair

Country star Brantley Gilbert will perform at the Delaware State Fair July 26 at 8 p.m. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — A trio of country acts and a contemporary Christian group were announced Tuesday night as part of the concert fare for this year’s Delaware State Fair 100th anniversary season at a special lineup launch party at Grotto Pizza in Dover.

About 110 enthusiastic “super fans” were picked out of 5,200 entries on social media to be the first to hear about country artists Sugarland, Dan + Shay and Brantley Gilbert, along with Christian act Bethel Music, on stage this summer in Harrington.

Young ventriloquist/singer Darci Lynne was previously announced as playing the fair on July 24.

More acts will be announced soon.

Sugarland, made up of Georgia natives Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, will kick things off at the state fair on July 18, with their first project together in nearly six years. The Grammy-winning duo will perform hits from their new album “Bigger” as well as many of their greatest hits.

Sugarland has played the fair twice before and Mr. Bush performed at the first and only Delaware Junction country music festival on the fairgrounds in 2015. Tickets are $44-90.

Dan+ Shay will perform on Monday, July 22 fresh off their Grammy win Sunday night in the Best Country Duo/Group for their song “Tequila.” This will be their first appearance at the state fair although they did play the Big Barrel country music festival at the Woodlands of Dover in 2015. Tickets are $34-84.

Bethel Music, presented by 88.7 FM The Bridge, will bring their songs of inspiration to the M&T Bank Grandstand on Tuesday, July 23. Over the last seven years, this group has grown from being a local church music ministry to becoming a fully fledged record label and publishing company, featuring songwriters and worship leaders based out of Bethel Church in Redding, California. Tickets are $20-60.

About 110 people were chosen to attend a Delaware State Fair lineup launch party at Grotto Pizza in Dover Wednesday night. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

On July 26, the state fair will welcome Mr. Gilbert back for the third time, performing his hit songs including “Bottoms Up,” “One Hell of an Amen” and “The Weekend.” He last played the fair in 2017. Tickets range from $44-90.

Show times for all concerts except for Mr. Gilbert will be 7:30 p.m. His show will start at 8.

Danny Aguilar, assistant general manager for the fair, who is in his 12th year, says the lineup is being picked this centennial year with an emphasis on successful, returning acts.

“Sugarland and Brantley Gilbert, specifically, we heard loud and clear from folks on social media and judging from past ticket sales, those were artists we definitely wanted back,” he said.

“But with acts like Dan + Shay and Bethel Music, we wanted to balance some new acts in there as well.”

Lewes native Jennifer Brzezicki was pumped when she heard the names at this year’s fair.

“I’m extremely excited. It’s really a good thing for all of Delaware to have such big acts coming to Harrington,” she said.

“I’ve gone to the fair since I was a kid, I’ve gone to many concerts and been a part of the whole festivities. I really enjoy it.”

Ms. Brzezicki, who has seen country artists Jason Alden and Darius Rucker at the fair in previous years, is most eager to see Dan + Shay in Harrington this summer.

Trish Dunlap displays a 2019 Summer Concert Series T-Shirt during the Delaware State Fair lineup launch party at Grotto Pizza in Dover on Wednesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

“They’re such a dynamic duo. They just performed at The Grammys. I’m really excited about them,” she said.

During the evening, attendees had chances to win prizes, such as concert tickets.

Eve Wick of Seaford was one of those lucky winners as she picked up a pair of tickets to see Dan + Shay. Although confessing that she was hoping to nab Sugarland seats, she was happy all the same.

“Now I get to buy front row tickets to Sugarland,” she said.

She too was happy about the lineup of acts announced.

“It’s awesome. I’ll be honest. For the last couple of years, the lineup hasn’t been that great. But I’m super happy about this one. Country roots are what Kent and Sussex County are all about,” she said.

Tickets go on sale Feb. 23 at 10 p.m. by visiting DelawareStateFair.com or calling eTix at 1-800-514-3849.

For $150, VIP packages are also available for all shows.

That includes VIP parking, gate admission, $10 food or drink voucher at the Loft or Roost, early entry into the venue, a pit or premium track seat and access to the Loft viewing area with air-conditioned restrooms, cash bar and free water and soda. More information is available at www.delawarestatefair.com.

Delaware State Fair Assistant GM & Director of Marketing Danny Aguilar warms up the crowd Wednesday night. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Mr. Aguilar says four more dates will be filled soon. That will include three concerts and the annual demolition derby.

“Our goal is to get the lineup filled up as quickly as possible. We have offers out. We are just waiting for confirmation,” he said.

This being the fair’s 100th year, there are special features going along with the centennial.

There are commemorative license plates soon to be available at the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles and a 410-page coffee table-style book tracing the history of the fair now available at Amazon.com.

Also, Mr. Aguilar announced Wednesday night that fair officials will be working with Big Oyster Brewery in Lewes to produce a special Delaware State Fair craft beer.

The Delaware State Fair runs from July 18 to 27.

Features editor Craig Horleman

can be reached at 741-8224

or chorl@newszap.com.

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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