After a two-year hiatus, the Merced County Fair announced its official return this summer with an in-person fair filled with carnival rides, live music, action-packed Grandstand shows, community performers, still and livestock exhibits, fair food and more.
The 2022 Merced County Fair will take place June 8 through June 12 and will feature a line-up for the free Outdoor Theatre Concert Series presented by Coors Light, as well as the Grandstand shows presented by Coors Light, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Save Mart and FoodMaxx. Tickets for the Merced County Fair will go on sale later this month.
“We are beyond thrilled for the return of the Merced County Fair after two years of modified operations,” said Teresa Burrola, CEO of the Merced County Fair. “We have greatly missed our community, and we know they have missed our fair! It will be a wonderful reunion to kick-off the summer for our community, complete with all the fair favorites: food, carnival rides, exhibits, concerts, community performances, our beloved tractor parade and so much more! We hope to see all of you at the fairgrounds June 8 to 12.”
From a returning country star to groovy jams, there’s plenty of music options for guests. All outdoor theatre concerts begin at 8:30 p.m., and are free with paid fair admission.
The opening night act on the outdoor theatre will be country artist Coffey Anderson. The Texas native grew up singing in church, but it wasn’t until a high school talent show that he realized he could connect with an audience. He relocated to Los Angeles to pursue music full-time, and started carving out his own lane of country music. He would perform on the street, where he sold CDs and took names for his email list. That’s where he’d meet his wife, hip-hop dancer, Criscilla, and soon realized that he had to think like an entrepreneur if he wanted to make it in the industry. Anderson took his music career into his own hands by producing his own albums, booking his own shows, and editing his music videos out of his garage. In 2006, Anderson started his YouTube channel and launched Coffey Global. Now, 16 years later he has more than 243,000 YouTube subscribers with 85 million lifetime views. His Spotify monthly listeners average 640,000, while his TikTok likes total 3.6 million.
June 9 will see Queen Nation take the outdoor stage. Queen Nation is the West Coast's longest-running, most authentically costumed re-creation of a vintage Queen concert. The show consists of four musicians who all sing and perform in character and costumes while playing live, note-for-note renditions of classic Queen songs. The band was crowned the World’s Greatest Queen Tribute Band by AXS TV and Best Live Band by multiple award shows. They perform Queen classics like “We Will Rock You,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Are the Champions,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and many more.
Musician Shelia E. will be at the fair on June 10. Sheila E. became a top session and touring musician before the age of 20, performing and or recording with George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Billy Cobham, Con Funk Shun, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, Patti LaBelle, and Steve Nicks among others. Sheila E.'s producing, arranging and performance talents have been showcased throughout the music and film industry with appearances on, The Academy Awards, The Latin Grammy Awards, BET Awards, The American Music Awards, The Kennedy Center Honors, The Summer Olympics, WOW Awards, ALMA's, and The Image Awards just to name a few. In 2014, Sheila E. released her literary biography titled, "The Beat of My Own Drum," and her solo album, "ICON." Following Prince’s death in 2016, she released the single “Girl Meets Boy” in memory of him. In 2018, Sheila E. released her album, "ICONIC: Message for America," which displays her efforts in awareness to social issues and humanitarianism. Sheila E. continues to produce and perform music throughout the world. Her most recent single, “Bailar” featuring Luis Enrique, Tony Succar and Mychael Gabriel, is the first ever Salsa song released by the icon.
The internationally touring show Kalimba - The Spirit of Earth, Wind & Fire will perform on June 11 on the outdoor stage. Kalimba provides an Earth, Wind & Fire experience that transports audiences back to the excitement of the first time they heard these unforgettable songs. Reproducing the infectious grooves created by Earth, Wind & Fires’s late founder Maurice White, Kalimba pays homage to Maurice with its exciting stage and lighting production. The show authentically replicates the signature high notes of Philip Bailey, the thick vocals harmonies of Maurice and Ralph Johnson, along with the grooving bass lines of Verdine White.
The final night of the fair will see Banda Machos take the stage. Forming in 1990 from Jalisco, Mexico, Banda Machos never could have imagined how popular, and controversial, they would become in the music scene. Known for being brash, infectious and eventually inescapable, Banda Machos updated and modernized the traditional Sinaloan banda style. The band electrified and augmented the genre’s big, brassy sound with amplified instruments, flashy keyboard flourishes and their longtime battle cry “Arre Macho!” Banda Machos' 1992 breakthrough album, Sangre de Indio, included the radio hit "El Gato y el Raton" and helped launch the Quebradita sound. In 1993, Banda Machos was crowned “La Reina de la Bandas” at the Viva México festival in Chicago. The group achieved even wider exposure in 2008, when they released their first YouTube video in conjunction with the album, Proximo Tonto, filming clips that have been viewed millions of times from viewers all over. Following the release of "La Huella de Mis Besos" in 2018, Banda Machos was acknowledged by the International Human Rights Commission for its commitment to fighting music piracy.
The Grandstand will have plenty of action this year. All shows begin at 7 p.m. and admission is $5, except for opening day, which is free with your paid fair admission. Children 5 years or younger are free (both fair admission and Grandstand) with a paid adult ticket.
The Grandstand events scheduled for the fair's run are: Merced Speedway auto racing on June 8; Desctruction Derby on June 9; Valley Tractor Pullers' tractor pull on June 10; Humpz & Hornz "Bad to the Bone" 2022 bull riding tour on June 11; and Gran Jaripeo with bull riding, dancing horses, Banda music and more on June 12.
There’s also plenty of other free entertainment for the family to enjoy once inside the gates of the Merced County Fair such as the Coors Light Stage and Dignity Health – Mercy Medical Center Stage (formerly Bear Creek Plaza).
New this year in the Sunshine Family Lane Area is the Pee Wee Stampede, where kids will put on a show and participate in mock rodeo events while the crowd cheer them on. Fairgoers will also be able to enjoy the return of the daily Tractor Parade, Discovering Science Exhibit, Petting Zoo and more.