Tyler County Fair Offers Family Entertainment
With headlining music acts like the Gospel Harmony Boys, the LoCash Cowboys, the Carter Twins, and Trent Tomlinson, the 48th annual Tyler County Fair — slated for Aug. 2-7 — promises to deliver a week packed with entertainment for the entire family.
The fair will officially open at 8 a.m. on Monday with exhibits accepted until noon. Opening ceremonies are scheduled for 6:15 p.m. that evening with the Silver Knights Marching Band providing entertainment.
Fair pageantry will begin at 7 p.m. with the Prince and Princess contest at 7 p.m. followed by the Jr. Miss and Queen’s pageants.
Karaoke will be held at the conclusion of the fair pageants.
Monday’s scheduled events also include Bingo, a baked goods sale, and ATV drag racing.
Tuesday, Aug. 3, has been designated at “youth day” at the county fair. Kids will be admitted free until noon.
Youth bicycle races will being at 10 a.m. with games immediately following.
The pedal pull contest will be held near the main stage at 11 a.m.
Other activities include a pet show at 3 p.m., poultry and rabbit judging at 5:30 p.m., purebred swine show at 6 p.m., market hogs at 6:30 p.m., and karaoke on the small stage at 9 p.m.
Racing will begin at 7 p.m. on the track with action from modified lights, mini wedges, and hot mods.
Musical entertainment for Tuesday night will be courtesy of amateur entertainers, as Power Country 104 brings the Colgate Country Showdown to the fairgrounds at 7 p.m.
Wednesday is “ladies’ day”. Until noon all ladies will be admitted free.
The day’s activities will begin at 9 a.m. with quilting in the log building. Other theme day activities will start at 11 a.m.
Other Tuesday activities include Bingo from 2-7 p.m., beef and dairy judging at 3 p.m., a feeder calf show at 6 p.m., pie sale at 6:45 p.m., market steer show at 7 p.m., and karaoke at 8 p.m.
Racing will start at 7 p.m. Gates open at 5 p.m.
Main stage action is slated for 7:30 p.m. with one of America’s finest southern gospel quartets — the Gospel Harmony Boys.
Since 1952, the GHB have aspired to entertain as well as inspire through a unique blend of Christian dedication, solid talent, and stage presence to thrill audiences all across the country.
At 9 p.m., Mountain Heart will take to the stage.
Mountain Heart is the band that has been fearlessly revolutionizing the way acoustic music can be presented and played. The band’s name has been synonymous with cutting-edge excellence in acoustic music circles since the group’s creation in 1999. Widely known throughout the music industry for continually redefining the cutting edge, the band has gained legions of fans both as a result of their superlative musicianship, and more notably, their incomparably exciting live performances. As one of the most highly awarded ensembles ever assembled, Mountain Heart, or members of the band, have either won or been nominated for multiple Grammys, ACM, CMA, and IBMA Awards. They have appeared on the revered stage of the Grand Ole Opry in excess of 100 times and have shared the stage with acts ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Montgomery Gentry, George Jones, Merle Haggard, and Brad Paisley to Alison Krauss, Tony Rice, Travis Tritt, Yonder Mountain Stringband, LeAnn Rimes, and Patty Loveless.
Mountain Heart’s musical virtuosity, unmatched energy, and keen sense of entertainment dynamics have helped them to forge a highly unique sound, and stage show, which appeals to an incredibly wide variety of musical tastes. From large outdoor folk music and bluegrass festivals, to sold-out arena shows opening for Southern Rock icons, Lynyrd Skynyrd, to co-headlining concerts with the acoustic guitar legend, Tony Rice, Mountain Heart always makes an undeniable connection to an audience, leaving them on their feet. In short, this rare combination of abilities makes Mountain Heart one of the most versatile acts ever assembled.
As the group leading the charge in taking acoustic music to the masses, Mountain Heart deftly combines elements of rock, jamband, country, blues, jazz, and bluegrass into a high-energy sound that is at once fresh, accessible, and unmistakable.
The Tyler County Belle Pageant, scheduled for 1 p.m., will highlight the afternoon events planned for Thursday. Senior citizens will be admitted free that day until 2 p.m.
One-A-Chord will perform at 1:30 p.m. on the fair’s main stage, with the Davisson Brothers on the roster at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday’s headlining act, the LoCash Cowboys, will round out the lineup at 9 p.m.
The Cowboys’ story began in April 2008 as the two were doing what they do best — rocking a packed house. They were at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon, where the two of them — Preston Brust and Chris Lucas — had met a few years earlier. The amped-up crowd was living, screaming proof that they had put the time since then to good use.
They had been criss-crossing the country, honing their craft on stages large and small, developing one of the most dynamic live shows in any genre of music. Along the way, they had sold more than 60,000 copies of their homemade CD, earned endorsements from the likes of Budweiser, shared bills with artists including Charlie Daniels and ZZ Top, performed at halftime of NBA and U.S. Olympic team basketball games, and earned television appearances ranging from Tanya Tucker’s reality show “Tuckerville” to “Pageant School: Becoming Miss America,” writing the theme songs for both.
They had also attracted their share of support from those in the industry who recognized just how much of the total package they had–great vocals, world-class dance moves, a unique look and charisma to burn, as well as a wealth of experience and a work ethic that impressed everyone who dealt with them.
On that warm spring night, the final piece of the puzzle would fall into place. Jeffrey Steele, one of Nashville’s biggest names in songwriting (“The Cowboy In Me,” “What Hurts The Most,” “My Town”) and producing (Montgomery Gentry, Keith Anderson) was working his way through the crowd.
Steele, like so many others before and since, had caught the LoCash vision, and he signed on as songwriting partner and producer. After building and gathering strength for years, earning a growing legion of fans inside and outside the industry, the LoCash Cowboys saw their momentum become a perfect storm.
Other Senior Day activities include Bingo from 2-7 p.m., market lamb and sheep judging at 6 .m., and the demolition derby at 7:30 p.m.
Day five, Friday, is Mountaineer Day will themed activities planned throughout the day.
The hog call contest and Liar’s contest will be held at 11 a.m., followed by the nail-driving contest at 11:30 a.m. and the hay baling contest at noon.
Weigh-in for the tractor pull competition in the track area will begin at 5:30 p.m. with action to begin at 7 p.m.
The market steer, hog, lamb, and rabbit sale will take place in the barn at 7 p.m.
Main stage entertainment is slated for 7 p.m. with vocal stylings of the I’ll Be John Brown Band.
IBJB began on a couch in the living room of an East Village, New York City apartment in the Spring of 2005. Based on a mutual love of Waylon Jennings and Pabst Blue Ribbon, the group quickly grew from two to three to four members as jam sessions turned into impromptu concerts for the crowds roaming the streets outside the open window of that apartment.
As their intensity, musicianship, and volume multiplied, they soon outgrew the living room and began a quest to become the most exciting and energetic roots and country group on the New York scene. Years later, they have cultivated a polished sound that combines the rich history of blues, country and folk, with modern lyricism, three-part harmonies, and air tight rhythms.
They strive to mix the old with the new without relying on the conventions or cliches of either. These skills and goals are displayed on their self-titled, self-released new album.
Then, at 9 p.m. the Carter Twins will dazzle the crowd with their brand of country music.
Twin brothers Joshua Scott Carter and Zachary Edward Carter grew up in Akron, Ohio, and were surrounded by music from the time they were born. Their mother worked in country radio and encouraged their interest. Zach stole time at her piano and got some vocal coaching from SESAC affiliate singer/songwriter/publisher Stephen Davey, while she taught Josh “Stairway to Heaven” on the guitar. In 2008, the Carter Twins scored a chance meeting with executive in Los Angeles, who ultimately led them to CMT. The brothers recently completed high school and moved to Nashville, Tenn., to pursue their music career full-time under the development of CMT Music, as the first act on the new label. They are 20 years old.
Their debut single with the CMT Music label was released in March 2009 and reached a peak of #54 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs. They were reported to having been working on their self-titled debut album with producer Frank Rogers, with an expected release date of August 2009. The duo wrote over 80 songs for the album, including co-writes from the members of Lady Antebellum. However, on Sept. 22, 2009, it was announced that the Carter Twins had parted ways with CMT.
Although their self-titled debut album wasn’t released, the duo released a four-song digital EP titled Carter Twins on Nov. 3, 2009. The EP features their single “Heart Like Memphis.”
The final day at the fair, Saturday, will begin with the Truck Driver’s Rodeo at 10 a.m. Registration for the event will be held from 8-10 a.m.
Other Saturday activities include an archery contest at 10 a.m., a horseshoe pitching contest at 4 p.m., and a pony pull at p.m.
Main stage entertainment will start at 10 a.m. with a talent show. Three divisions will be showcased. For more information, contact Dawn Billiter at 304-758-2537 or Roger Billiter at 304-771-3247.
A car, truck, and tractor show will be held on the front lawn from 5-7 p.m. Registration for the event will be held from 1-5 p.m.
The evening’s entertainment will begin at 7:30 p.m. with a performance by the Johnny Staats Project.
At 9 p.m., Trent Tomlinson will return to the fair’s main stage.
As a singer/songwriter, Tomlinson is one of those rare performers whose music is as straight-ahead and unpretentious as he is. His songs, he says simply, are real-life situations with kicking guitar. “It’s ‘open a beer, sit in a lawn chair, let’s have a party’ country,” he says of his music. “At the same time, the songs are saying, ‘I have the ability to love you, to understand,’ and at the end of the day all that matters is Mama and Daddy and going to heaven. That pretty much sums everything up. Tomlinson honed his music to perfection in countless demo studios over the years. “I’ve had five publishing deals,” he says. “I’ve practically lived in the studio, creating and honing a sound of my own. And it turns out that five of the songs on the album record are actually my demos — Lyric Street loved them so much as is that we just went in and re-sang and tweaked a little, instead of re-recording.”
In fact, Tomlinson was involved in every aspect of song selection and production on his album which is unusual for a new artist. That level of involvement is testament to his ability to turn the long hard road to stardom to his advantage. Although, he had written songs for Emerson Drive and Blue County, among others, Tomlinson’s career had amounted to a frustrating series of publishing deals until he had a breakthrough about two years ago. He was writing at Cal IV Entertainment, a Music City publishing company, when, “I kind of found myself,” Tomlinson says. “I basically admitted the truth about who I am and what I am, my demons and insecurities — the ones that I run from on a day-to-day basis — and began putting them into my songs.”
He immediately noticed the change in his songwriting. “It was like, ‘all right,” says Tomlinson, “now I believe this guy.” As he was honing his craft, his singing also continued to get better. “It was at this point that my whole world changed — as a songwriter, as an artist, as everything. The truth will set you free.”
The music began connecting for the reason great music always does — people identified with it. “Songs,” Tomlinson says, “are one of those places where you can hear someone talking about their problems and you say, ‘I’m not alone.'”
Once he concentrated on writing songs that reflected his psyche and dealt with topics like drinking, camaraderie, broken dreams, and relationships, Tomlinson found his fortunes reversing rapidly. He demoed and pitched “Hey Batter Batter,” a clever take on barroom rancor, and quickly found Lyric Street Record’s Senior Vice President of A&R Doug Howard and President Randy Goodman wanting to hear more. Tomlinson showcased the new material for them in October 2004 and two months later he had a record deal.
Country Is My Rock brings Tomlinson’s emotional honesty and eye for detail to vignettes detailing both the good and bad of life and love. “She Might Just Have Her Radio On” and “I Was Gonna Leave Tomorrow Anyway” deal with the aftermath of relationships while “The Bottle” looks at the dark side of life and “Drunker Than Me,” is an offbeat and hilarious look at being forced to be the responsible one on a night out. The CD’s combination of truth, pathos, and humor give it both accessibility and real depth, and its hard-charging musical approach makes it all compelling.
Carnival rides, all except the fun house included with admission, will be open to fair-goers Monday and Tuesday from 6-10:30 p.m.; Wednesday through Friday from 4-10:30 p.m.; and Saturday from 5-10:30 p.m.
Brunon Blaszak’s Royal Bengal Tiger Show will have two shows daily Tuesday through Friday and three shows on Saturday.
Admission to the fair is $6 Monday through Thursday and $7 Friday and Saturday. Children under three are admitted free daily but must purchase a daily pass for carnival rides. Season memberships are available through Aug. 1 for $25 for youths and adults, including carnival rides.
Gates open daily at 8 a.m.
For more information, call 304-758-2227 or visit www.tylercountyfair.org.