The Main Stage lineup for the 2012 Washington Town and Country Fair was announced Saturday night at the Chamber of Commerce banquet.
Fair Chair Dale Westhoff introduced his board members and announced the big-name entertainment and other special exhibits planned to a packed house of more than 500 people.
The Washington Fair will open Wednesday, Aug. 1, and run through Sunday, Aug. 5, at the city fairgrounds.
A video showcasing the entertainment and exhibits was shown at the banquet.
The lineup includes country music stars Jake Owen Thursday night and Gretchen Wilson Friday evening; rock veterans REO Speedwagon Saturday night and award-winning country music artist Jerrod Niemann Sunday night.
Westhoff said the Fair Board is very excited about the lineup. He also emphasized how all of the concerts are included in the ticket price.
In order to make the Fair more affordable, Westhoff said the family four-pack special is being extended for online purchases only at washmofair.com through Memorial Day weekend.
Returning this year to the Fair will be the Purina Pro Plan Performance Team. The high-flying dog show is always a crowd pleaser, Westhoff said.
Purina will be at the fairgrounds all five days. The show will be set up near the North Gate.
Other special events include free, hands-on science and technology activities, chain saw carving, the return of the bucket of junk contest, this time for children and adults, along with the traditional events such as Agri-Land, the livestock shows, motor sports, the midway rides and the family fun center.
Westhoff said opening night of the Fair will again feature the queen contest at 8:30 p.m. on the Main Stage. A total of 25 contestants will compete for the title. Prior to the coronation, an opening ceremony with the color guard will begin at 8 p.m.
Two pre-Fair events, the run/walk and parade, will again be held the weekend prior to the Fair opening.
Jake Owen released his debut album “Startin’ With Me” in 2005 which produced three singles, all of which reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart.
In 2009, Owen released a second album, “Easy Does It,” which had three more hit singles. In September 2011, he achieved his first No. 1 spot on the country charts with the title track to his third album, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.”
Last year, Owen joined Keith Urban on his 2011 Get Closer world tour.
Country music artist Gretchen Wilson made her debut in 2004 with the Grammy award-winning single “Redneck Woman,” a No. 1 hit on the Billboard country charts.
Wilson followed up with her debut album “Here for the Party” and one year later with “All Jacked Up.” The title track of “All Jacked Up” became the highest-debuting single for a female country music artist.
Overall, Wilson has charted 13 singles on the Billboard country charts, of which five have reached the Top 10. She has sold over 6 million records worldwide.
American rock band REO Speedwagon formed in 1967. The band grew in popularity during the 1970s and 1980s. The band’s most successful album is “Hi Infidelity” which sold over 10 million copies and charted four Top 40 hits in the United States.
Over the course of its career, the band has sold more than 40 million records and has charted 13 Top 40 hits.
REO Speedwagon last played at the Washington Fair in 1997 to big crowds.
Country singer Jerrod Niemann, active since 2001, has recorded two independent albums. In 2006 he hit the charts with the single “I Love Women.” He has also co-written three singles for Garth Brooks and many other stars.
In 2010, Niemann released “Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury” which contains his debut single, “Lover, Lover,” which rose to the Top 40 charts and later became his first No. 1 country hit. In 2010 and 2011, several other singles from the album were released and made it on to the Billboard charts.