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Entertainment options abound at Merced County Fair
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The Merced County Fair will feature a performance from country singer John Michael Montgomery. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Merced County Fair is a little over a week away and this year’s run is bringing an eclectic group of entertainers to the stage.

“We switched a couple things up with entertainment and I’m really excited to see how the community responds to it,” said Teresa Burrola, CEO of the Merced County Fair. “This year we are bringing in a Michael Jackson tribute show on opening night to kick of the Fair. Then we will also have a Bull Competition in the Grandstand where you can see young bucking bulls graded before they enter into the rodeo circuit. It’s unlike anything we have had before and has really gained in popularity.”

The Merced County Fair runs from June 7 to June 11. The entertainment on the Outdoor Theatre Stage is included in the price of admission as part of the Table Mountain Free Concert Series presented by Coors Light.


The act opening the fair’s run will be I Am King…The Michael Jackson Experience, which will take the audience on a musical and visual journey into the world of the “King of Pop” featuring a cast of talented musicians and Broadway and Las Vegas dancers. The tribute artists sing live such hits as “Bad,” “Billie Jean,” “Thriller,” “Man in the Mirror” all while mastering the intense dancing.


On June 8, country music performer John Michael Montgomery will take to the stage. Montgomery’s career has spanned more than two decades, featured more than 30 top Billboard country chart singles, include seven that reached #1: "I Love the Way You Love Me," "I Swear,” "Be My Baby Tonight," "If You've Got Love," "I Can Love You Like That," "Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)," and "The Little Girl."


Popular funk group War will be performing on June 9. Melding soul, Latin, jazz, blues, reggae and rock influences into one unique style, War has found success for more than four decades and have had hits that include: "Spill the Wine," "The World Is a Ghetto," "The Cisco Kid," "Why Can't We Be Friends?" "Low Rider," and "Summer." Over time, members of WAR have changed but the unique musical style is unwavering, consistently led by founding member Leroy “Lonnie” Jordan.


High School friends from Los Banos, Dusty “Tex” Dahlgren and Brett “Bird” Brooks first formed their country-rap group Moonshine Bandits in 1999 and later released their first album “Soggy Crackerz” in 2003. They will be performing on June 10. Formed at a time when only Bubba Sparxxx, Haystak and a few other artists were mixing country, rap, and rock, the Moonshine Bandits stood out with their unique sound, energetic show and outlaw music anthems. In 2011, Moonshine Bandits released “Whiskey and Women,” then in 2014, “Calicountry” was released and reached #22 on Billboard's Country Albums chart and then “Blacked Out” (2015) topped out at #13.

Regional Mexican singer and songwriter Noel Torres from Badiraguato, Sinaloa, grew up around music with his father singing at family gatherings and parties. Torres released his first album, “Al Frente y de Frente” in 2011, with its single, "El Tiempo Contigo" landing on the charts. He followed quickly with a second album that year entitled “Llegamos, Estamos y Seguimos.” The first single, "La Guanábana," spent 20 weeks on the airplay charts and was nominated for Corrido of the Year at the 2012 Premios de la Radio awards. Torres will be performing on June 11.

All the show’s will start at 8:30 p.m., with the exception of Torres’, which will start at 7:30 p.m.

Admission to these concerts is free with your paid Fair admission, which is $8 for Adults and $4 for kids 12 and under (kids 5 and under are always free) at the gate entrance.

Last year the Grandstand shows boosted the biggest crowds in years and part of that can be attributed to the new mix of shows such as the return of monster trucks. Merced County Fair Management expects big crowds again with this year’s line-up. The Grandstand will host auto racing on June 7, Monster Trucks on June 8, the Bull Competition of June 9, and a Tractor Pull on June 10.


 All shows begin at 7 p.m. and are $5. Children 5 years and under are free.