Thorogood, Little Big Town, Blues Traveler to play Delaware State Fair

26dsn Little Big Town by .

Grammy winners Little Big Town will play the Delaware State Fair Sunday, July 24. Fireworks will follow the show that will also feature Sugarland’s Kristian Bush. (Submitted photos)

HARRINGTON — Delaware’s own George Thorogood, top-selling country group Little Big Town and Blues Traveler highlight the acts announced this morning for this year’s Delaware State Fair.

Other artists headed to the fair, set for July 21–30, are country music’s Jake Owen, who will perform a special pre-fair show on July 20; pop-rockers X Ambassadors, Rachel Platten and A Great Big World; and contemporary Christian’s For King and Country with Sidewalk Prophets and Jordan Feliz.

They join previously announced country legends Alabama and comedian/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham.

Monster trucks, a demolition derby, rodeo and a night of harness racing complete the slate for the 97th annual event in Harrington.

Advance tickets for admission and concerts go on sale March 11 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at www.delawarestatefair.com, or by calling eTix at (800) 514-3849.

“We certainly feel that this is a diverse lineup, especially for country fans with some newer acts and also classic groups like Alabama,” said Delaware State Fair Assistant General Manager Danny Aguilar.

“Our pop night with three big acts, who have all had mega hits, we think will make a nice offering for folks. And the contemporary Christian acts have attracted a really big following in recent years.”

Owen, Jake by .

Jake Owen will play the fair’s first kickoff concert the day before the official start of the event.

New this year, the fair will present a kickoff concert with Mr. Owen, who played last year’s Big Barrel Country Music Festival in Dover, along with Granger Smith at the M&T Bank Grandstand on Wednesday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Gate admission will not be required and parking will be free, but no fair basics such as carnival rides, livestock animals, circus performances and food vendors will be in place. Tickets are $31-71.

Mr. Aguilar said the added date came about due to a combination of reasons, one of which was the demise of Big Barrel and Delaware Junction on the grounds of the state fair, which Mr. Aguilar confirmed would not return this year.

“Because of the cancellation of some other country offerings this summer, we wanted to add more country music to the lineup,” he said.

“There was also a routing issue where Jake didn’t fit any of our other nights except for Wednesday. We recognized that the stage was already set up and the crew is there, so we thought we would try it.”

On Friday, July 29, Wilmington native and blues rocker Mr. Thorogood and his Destroyers perform at 7:30 p.m. with The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Tickets are $34-74.

It will be the first appearance by Mr. Thorogood at the state fair. He has played three shows at Wilmington’s Grand Opera House in recent years.

On Sunday, July 24, Little Big Town with Sugarland’s Kristian Bush will perform at 7:30.

The Grammy-winning group is riding high with its recent success, led by the hit single “Girl Crush” which recently won two awards. Tickets are $39-79.

Thoroughgood by .

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

It will be a makeup date for Little Big Town as last year’s show was canceled just days before due to vocal cord issues experienced by lead singer Jimi Westbrook.

“We recognized that the cancellation disappointed many fans and we worked closely with them to get them back. They felt very badly about that just as we did,” Mr. Aguilar said.

Mr. Bush, who has appeared at the state fair in recent years with Sugarland, was to have played this year’s Big Barrel festival and sang at last year’s Delaware Junction in Harrington.

Pop artists X Ambassadors, Ms. Platten and A Great Big World will be out on the road together this summer and land at the state fair Wednesday, July 27 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $39-$79.

X Ambassadors, who played the Firefly Music Festival last year and performed before last fall’s NASCAR race at Dover International Speedway, have scored hits with songs such as “Renegades” while Ms. Platten hit it big with “Fight Song” and A Great Big World climbed the chart with “Say Something.”

The fair ends this year on July 30 with the second annual Craft Beer Festival headlined by John Popper’s harmonica-driven Blues Traveler. Local band lower case blues will also perform for the second year in a row.

Music-only tickets are $25. Craft beer tickets are $35. Those ticket holders, who must be 21 years of age or older, will receive a souvenir cup and five beer-tasting tickets. Gates will open at 5 p.m. Fireworks will end the festivities.

Lines for last year’s first beer festival, headlined by Grand Funk Railroad, were extremely long with some uncomfortable wait times at the outset. Mr. Aguilar said adjustments have been made to the process this year.

“Lessons were duly noted and modifications have been put in place. We have rearranged the layout so that lines don’t converge and earlier times have been set for the redemption of wristbands,” he said.

King and Country by .

Contemporary Christian artists For King and Country will perform at the Delaware State Fair July 26.

Australian brothers For King and Country return to the Delaware State Fair on Tuesday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20-45.

Previously announced Mr. Dunham brings his cast of characters to Harrington Saturday, July 23 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $44-$59.

Alabama performs Monday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45-$84.

The Monster Truck Meltdown moves in on Thursday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18-20. The show will include a pit party, monster trucks, ride truck and a tough truck challenge.

Also that night, the Quillen Arena will host the Painted Pony PRCA Rodeo at 7 p.m. Tickets are $16, youth 12 and under are free.

Friday, July 22 will see the M&T Bank Grandstand host a demolition derby at 7 p.m. Tickets are $16-18.

Thursday, July 28 will be the fair’s traditional Governor’s Day with harness racing taking center stage at 7 p.m.

For this year’s concerts, Mr. Aguilar said the fair is looking to put in a VIP section. Details should be available in May.

“With the rise of music festivals and special VIP areas, fans have become accustomed to some enhanced features and we’re looking at a few things, whether it be a raised platform for viewing or things like a private bar and private bathrooms,” he said.

Mr. Aguilar said fair fans overall can look forward to an expanded food selection, the free entertainment tent closer to the agricultural areas to draw more traffic to those displays and, on a few nights, the first Delaware State Fair Community Marching Band.

“If anyone is looking to pick up that dusty clarinet or drums that have been laying around, we invite them to come out and play,” he said.

For details on how you can strike up the band, call 398-3269.

Blues Traveler Approved Image by .

Blues Traveler will headline the second annual Craft Brew Festival at the Delaware State Fair.

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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