File art of the Appalachian Fair in Gray. (Madison Mathews/Johnson City Press)
If you’re looking for popular musical entertainment, carnival rides and games, or if you’re just craving a funnel cake, then set aside a day to visit the Appalachian Fair in Gray next week.
Phil Booher, Fair manager, said Tuesday that it’s been a busy time for those at the fairgrounds, as exhibitors and carnival crews have been setting up shop.
He said this year’s weeklong event –– which runs Monday to Saturday –– is jam-packed with variety of musical acts.
Booher said on this year’s Main Stage, country musician Easton Corbin will play Monday, Dustin Lynch will play Tuesday and contemporary Christian artist Jeremy Camp will perform Wednesday.
“The Swon Brothers will be opening for Dustin Lynch,” he said. “The Swon Brothers ... were third on ‘The Voice.’ Of course, Florida Georgia Line (is) on Thursday night, which is just ... the No. 1 country group going right now.”
Known for her hit song “Redneck Woman,” Gretchen Wilson will take the stage Friday, followed by Dailey & Vincent on Saturday night.
“I think we’ve got one of our strongest lineups we’ve had in a while,” Booher said.
The CrestPoint Health Appalachian Arena will also see a lot of action next week with tractor pulls and trucks, but Booher said they’ve changed a few things this year.
“We’re doing the truck pull on Monday night and, of course, Tuesday and Wednesday night’s the monster trucks,” he said. “Thursday night we’ll have a tractor pull, which will have some hot rods and mostly antique tractors.”
Booher said the demolition derby will be back Friday and Saturday night, which he said is something everyone at the fair looks forward to.
He said the James H. Drew Exposition, a traveling midway crew that have worked the fair for many years, will also be back again this year to work the rides and carnival games.
“The Seattle Wheel will be here,” Booher said. “They’ve got a new coaster ride. Of course, they’ll have the pirate ship and the other roller coasters that were here last year, the water roller coasters.”
He said the Farm and Home exhibit building will feature anything from art, photography and perishable items such as cakes and cookies, and said local 4H Club members, as well as FFA and FCCLA, will have their various entries on display.
On the Museum Stage, Booher said the Fairest of the Fair is scheduled for Monday and the Little Miss contests will be Tuesday.
“Wednesday, we’re doing a Battle of the Bands, which is new this year,” he said.
Thursday night will feature a youth talent contest, and then Friday, the stage will host a “So You Think You Can Dance” competition.
“Saturday night we’re doing Appalachian Fair’s Got Talent, which is kind of open to the whole area for talent this year.”
The baby chicks, ducks and other farm animals will be back in the Barnyard Nursery this year, as well as presentations at the cattle and sheep shows later on in the week.
If you’re wanting to grab a bite to eat at the fair, there will be plenty of food options to choose from this year.
“We’ve always got our fair food over on the midway,” Booher said. “We’ve got our regular people who will be having different kinds of items available too. We have two groups of different Ruritans –– South Holston and Piney Flats –– who do all of our parking and stuff and then we’ve got several that run concession stands out here. They’ll have be back helping us this year.”
He said the fair will be open Monday-Friday from 3-11 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
According to the Appalachian Fair website, advance tickets for gate admission, rides, parking passes and reserved seating for the Main Stage events are available.
Gate admission the the fair is $8 for adults, $3 for children 6-11 and kids 5 and under are free with an adult. Season tickets are also available –– $18 for three-day admission and $36 for six-day admission.
According to the website, parking is $3 per vehicle and a parking pass for six days can be purchased for $10.
For ride ticket prices, visit the website at http://www.appalachianfair.com/tickets.htm.
Booher said while he’s excited to see the crowd of people who are expected to show up for musical acts such as Florida Georgia Line, he said the fair gives community members a time to interact.
“You have that opportunity to come out and see a lot of people ... your neighbors and friends, who come out to the fair,” he said. “You get so much for your dollar in this situation. You get to see all the big entertainment. There’s ... a little bit of something for everybody.”
For more information, visit the Appalachian Fair website at www.appalachianfair.com or call 477-3211.