HARRINGTON — Fattening foods, contests of all sorts and concerts for all ages are just a part of this year’s Delaware State Fair, which got underway Thursday in Harrington.
Last year’s 10-day event drew over 280,000 folks and officials hope the weather holds out and more attend the extravaganza this year.
Tickets for the fair, which lasts until Aug. 1, are $8 for those 13 years and older, $3 for 6- to 12-year-olds and free for youngsters 5 and under.
For tickets and more information, visit www.delawarestatefair.com or call 302-398-3269.
Let’s take an alphabetical trip around the fairgrounds and see what’s on tap this year.
A — Animals. From beef cattle to sheep, swine, poultry and rabbits, all manner of four-legged friends will be on display.
Of particular note is the Pretty Animal Contest July 31 at 8 p.m. in the Quillen Arena. Junior exhibitors dress up their animals and compete to see who has the prettiest ones and best themes.
B — Bryan Adams takes the M&T Grandstand stage Tuesday night at 7:30.
The Grammy-winning artist is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his best-selling album “Reckless” and audiences can expect to hear all the hits including “Run to You,” “Summer of 69” and “Heaven” plus songs that didn’t make the original cut of the record. Tickets are $39-$85.
C — Casting Crowns, a top-selling contemporary Christian rock band, headlines a show at the M&T Grandstand Saturday night at 7:30. The show will be opened by For King and Country.
Career sales have exceeded 5 million records for Casting Crowns. In 2005, the group was voted CCM Readers’ Choice Awards “Favorite Band,” “Favorite New Artist” and “Favorite Album” for the Grammy-winning “Lifesong”.
The title track was voted “Inspirational Single of the Year” by online music fans in the 2005 CCMSingles.Net Awards.
Tickets are $33-$63.
D — Demolition derby fans will get their fill of excitement tonight in the M&T Grandstand. The bang-em-up action is set for 7 p.m. Tickets are $16-$18.
E — Exhibit Hall will be a great place to cool off in air-conditioned comfort as you check out the information booths and shopping options. Exhibit Hall is also home to nightly news broadcast by WMDT.
It is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
F — Fireworks will light up the sky twice during the fair in the grandstand area. The first will be Saturday night after the Casting Crowns concert and then July 31 to close out the fair after the Little Big Town show.
G — Grand Funk Railroad will take to the M&T Grandstand during the fair’s first Craft Beer Festival from 6 to 9 p.m.
The classic rock group, with hits such as “We’re an American Band,” “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “The Loco-Motion,” is celebrating its 46th year of music.
Delaware’s lower case blues will open the show.
This three-hour concert and craft beer event will showcase over 50 craft and domestic releases from breweries
Tickets are $35 for the concert and tasting package or $25 for the concert only.
H — Helicopter rides will take fairgoers high above the crowd. For $20 per person, copters can take folks up two at a time.
I — Ice shows will run throughout the fair at the Centre Ice Rink. Young skaters will show off their skills nightly at 6 and 8 p.m.
J — Josh Turner will bring his country hits to the M&T Grandstand Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Known for tunes such as “Why Don’t We Just Dance,” “All Over Me” and “Time Is Love,” Mr. Turner will be joined by fellow country hitmakers Dustin Lynch and Craig Wayne Boyd, winner of the 2014 season of “The Voice”.
K — Kid Davie is a new addition to the fair. The stilt walker will wander the fairgrounds at 2, 6 and 8 p.m. with special appearances on the weekends and Kids Day on Tuesday. Sources say he may turn up in a variety of costumes, which include an ostrich and a robot.
L — Little Big Town rolls in to the town of Harrington July 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Founded in 1998, the group has comprised the same four members since its inception: Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook, and Phillip Sweet.
The group’s current single “Girl Crush” became its third career No. 1 hit earlier this year.
They will be joined by David Nail and Ashley Monroe.
Tickets are $43-$75.
M — Meghan Trainor is all about the state fair Monday night at 7:30.
The “All About That Bass” singer had a rough start to her M-Train Tour as the first shows had to be postponed due to a hemorrhage on her vocal chords. But the tour finally took the tracks last week in St. Louis and has been chugging along ever since.
She will be joined by Charlie Puth, who currently has a hit duet with Ms. Trainor with the song “Marvin Gaye,” and British trio Life of Dillon, profiled in last week’s Finally Friday!
Tickets are $39-$70.
N — New Kids on the Block will be “Hangin’ Tough” at the fair Sunday night at 7:30 at the M&T Grandstand.
The Boston boy band enjoyed success in the late 1980s and early 1990s with hits such as “Step by Step” and “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever).”
They have sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making them one of the world’s best-selling groups of all time.
Tickets are $59-$125.
O — The Oldiewed Game Show is a perennial favorite at the fair, pitting senior couples against each other to see who knows each other best.
The fun is set for Monday from 4:30 to 5 p.m. at the Entertainment Tent.
P — The Pig Kissin’ Contest is also one of the fair’s most popular attractions.
Contestants try to raise the most money for the Junior Exhibitor Scholarship so they don’t have to pucker up to the pork.
That’s set for Thursday from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Entertainment Tent.
Q — Quench your thirst at The Roost Beer and Wine Garden with Delaware-made wines and domestic and craft brews.
Open daily from 3 to 11 p.m., The Roost will also feature entertainment from local artists.
Mike Weyrauch will be featured tonight and July 31; Clifford Keith Saturday and Thursday; Sol Knopf Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday and a DJ Monday and Aug. 1.
R — Religious services will be available Sunday at 9 a.m. in the Entertainment Tent as The First Baptist Church presents a celebration service.
S — Scott’s Crazy Comedy Magic Show, another new addition, is a mix of comedy, magic, audience participation and family fun.
Dale Scott will be at the Plaza at 1, 3, 5 and 8 p.m. along with roaming shows throughout the day.
T — The Think Pink! Flower Arranging Contest has competitors going all pink as they theme their creations around the color, and compete to have the best arrangement.
That’s set for the Entertainment Tent Monday from 10 to 11:30 a.m.At 2, 6 and 8 p.m. each day, you’ll want to look around for Kid Davie — a comedian, magician, illusionist, fire eater, juggler and stilt-walker. You never know if he’ll show up as a cowboy on an ostrich or a robot. (Submitted photo)[/caption]
U — Under the big top, you’ll find Circus Hollywood with acrobats, exotic animals, stunts and more.
The fan favorite is in the Sponsor Court at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.
There will also be a show at 12:30 p.m. today through Sunday, Tuesday and July 31 and Aug. 1.
V — Veggies abound as homegrown and fresh picked produce from all around Delaware will be found in the Garden Vegetable Department. Exhibitors enter their prize-winning picks in hopes of winning a blue ribbon.
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.
It is set for Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in the Schabinger Pavilion.
X — (E)xcitement is always found on the Midway as the fair welcomes back Wade Shows as its Midway Carnival provider.
On the Midway, you can take advantage of rides, games, food and fun.
Once again, Wade Shows will offer Gold Access, which allows you to skip the lines at the rides and move to the front at the special gold and black checkerboard lines.
All Gold Access guests get a VIP lanyard and special wristband to access Gold Access privileges.
Wristbands can be obtained by visiting www.delawarestatefair.com.
Y — The Youth Pedal Tractor Pull will test kids’ mettle in the Machinery Lot Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Z — The John Curtis Sr. FFA Children’s Barnyard Petting Zoo will be housed in the new FFA Agriculture Education Center. The zoo will feature animals such as donkeys, pygmy goats, dairy calves and piglets.
This year, FFA members will also be doing demonstrations on the various areas of FFA. The center is on Arena Avenue through Monday.
And that’s only a fraction of the fun that awaits.