Country star Farr headlines fair

Christopher Morrical|Commercial-NewsPam Stultz decorates one of the exhibit buildings at the Georgetown Fairgrounds earlier this week. The fair kicks off its annual run Saturday and will continue through Aug. 10.

GEORGETOWN — Country music fans are ready to go "Redneck Crazy" next Friday as Tyler Farr will headline the Georgetown Fair.

The Garden City, Mo., native grew up raking hay behind his father's tractor on a 150-acre cattle farm listening to classic country superstars such as Merle Haggard, Vern Gosdin and Gene Watson.

In comparison, his label called him "a man in the middle of a surging testosterone country movement in today’s Nashville who insists on digging a little deeper, getting a little realer and owning how hard it can be."

Don Hackler, Georgetown Fair board president, talked about how the singer found his way to the largest fair in Vermilion County.

"There were a lot of different options that were available," Hackler said. "It had a lot to do with the performer's routing — if they are routed through this area, it works out well for them to pick up a venue like ours.

"We were fortunate in that we didn't have to negotiate a whole lot."

Farr will be traveling Thursday night from a concert in Canada and will make one more Illinois stop on Saturday.

Opening for Farr will be the NATU Band, a group based out of central Illinois, who has opened for other country artists such as Eli Young Band, Toby Keith and Cole Swindell.

Track tickets are $25, with grandstand tickets at $20.

A night before Farr takes the stage, the arena will host the annual IPRA rodeo, in which cowboys and cowgirls from across the state will compete in bareback, saddle bronc, roping, wrestling and bull riding, among others.

"(Mike Latting, rodeo operator) will arrive here around noon Thursday and start setting up their arena," Hackler said. "They'll have a good show."

Track passes for the rodeo are $15 per person, and grandstand admission is $12 for an adult and $4 for a child.

The third big draw to the Georgetown Fair will be the fair pageant, set for 6 p.m. Monday.

This kid-friendly event will crown a new Miss Georgetown Fair Queen — currently held by Billi Jo Shank — as well as a Little Ms. and Mr. Georgetown contest and Outstanding Young Citizens Presentations. Entry is $6 for adults and $3 for children.

As of Wednesday, the stage had been constructed, but still was decorated in last year's theme. It was going to need to be painted before Monday's show.

All week, in fact, people were busily preparing the grounds for the fair activities. Monday was dozens of FFA students come in and build the stalls in the animal barns. Wednesday saw local women Pam Stultz, Susan Sollars, Nancy Towner and Dorothy Lickfett decorating two of the buildings with a lot of fall accoutrements.

And although many think the only things for younger children to do is see animals or get on carnival rides, that's not the case this year.

Hackler said the board came up with "The Busy Barn."

"(It's) going to have a number of activities," he said. "In many cases they will be ag-related. We're going to have a corn table where they can play with kerneled corn — it's almost like a sand box. We'll have pictures for them to color and we'll have peddle tractors."

Trooper Tracy Lillard will be there Thursday night to give a presentation on youth farm safety.

"That should be interesting," Hackler said. "I understand she's a farm girl herself."

All lineups and times for fair activities can also be found at www.georgetownfair.org or on the fair's Facebook page.