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story.lead_photo.caption One of many performances, Brantley Gilbert will take the Missouri State Fair stage Saturday in Sedalia. (Courtesy of 2019 Missouri State Fair)

The Missouri State Fair opens today and the Pepsi Grandstand entertainment lineup is not only a mainstay but a draw for many.

State Fair marketing director Kari Mergen said the annual lineup tends to lean more toward country, which is always popular.

“Country is typically the best seller here so it’s hard to not try to cater to that audience,” Mergen said.

Mergen said fair staff gets suggestions from people, which are taken seriously. However, staff have to find performers who are touring at the right time and in the right region to make a stop at the State Fair, she said. Another complication is what’s become a trend in the music industry to have an act travel with four or five other groups, and sometimes the performer is simply out of the fair’s budget, she said.

“We always take suggestions and love to hear what people want to see and, if it’s within our budget and if it’s available, we certainly are not opposed to trying what’s popular and what everybody wants to see,” Mergen said.

As of late last week, Mergen said the fair’s top seller is Foreigner, followed closely by Brantley Gilbert and Brothers Osborne. All three shows are Friday and Saturday nights.

“Weeknights are hard, we understand that, it’s hard for people to get here on a weeknight,” Mergen said of the shows.

Another factor for attendance is always weather. Mergen said when it’s very hot or raining, it’s more difficult for everyone at the fair, from attendees to vendors to staff.

“It truly does play a huge factor and we understand that, if it’s super hot or if it’s raining, it makes for a hard day at the fair,” Mergen said. “We’re praying for good weather.”

All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted. All ticket prices are in addition to the admission prices to the fair, which are $10 for adults; $7 for seniors, ages 60 and older; $2 for children ages 6-12; and free for children younger than 6.

Unless otherwise noted, for all shows, tickets are free for children 2 and younger, though they must sit on an adult’s lap.

The music begins tonight, with Dwight Yoakam with King Leg. Tickets are $40 for premium track, $35 for regular track, $25 for premium grandstand and $20 for regular grandstand.

On Friday, the fair will host the Struts with White Reaper. Tickets are $35 for track and $25 for grandstand.

On Saturday, Brantley Gilbert with Jobe Fortner will perform. Tickets are $55 for premium track, $45 for regular track, $40 for premium grandstand and $35 for regular grandstand.

On Tuesday, it’s “Chicks with Hits,” featuring Terri Clark, Pam Tillis and Suzy Bogguss. Tickets are $30 for track and $20 for grandstand.

Wednesday’s performance will be Tyler Childers with Brent Cobb. Tickets are $30 for track and $20 for grandstand.

On Aug. 15, For King & Country with Matt Maher will perform. Tickets are $25 for track and $20 for grandstand.

On Aug. 16, Foreigner with Night Ranger will perform. Tickets are $45 for premium track, $35 for regular track, $30 for premium grandstand and $25 for regular grandstand.

And on Aug. 17, it’s Brothers Osborne with Ashley McBryde. Tickets are $45 for premium track, $40 for regular track, $30 for premium grandstand and $25 for regular grandstand.

Fireworks are planned after the concerts tonight, Friday, Saturday, Wednesday, Aug. 16 and Aug. 17.

Non-music grandstand entertainment includes:

• Sunday, Missouri State Fair Shoot-Out, noon and 6 p.m.

The event features the Missouri Association Championship Truck and Tractor Pull Qualifying and Finals.

Tickets: $20 adults; $10 ages 6-12. Children 5 and younger, free — if they sit on an adult’s lap.

• Monday, Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, noon and 6 p.m.

Tickets: $25 adults; $12 ages 6-12; children 5 and younger, free — if they sit on an adult’s lap.

• Aug. 18, ASCS Sprint Car and Late Model Races; 6 p.m. Hot Laps, 7 p.m. Heat Races.

Tickets: $20 adults; $18 military and seniors (65 and older); $10 ages 13-17; $5 age 6-12; children 5 and younger, free — if they sit on an adult’s lap.

On its website, mostatefair.com/locations/grandstand, the fair also has a “Beware of Ticket Scams” note, which says: “Though many online ticket brokers may imply that they are an official website for ticket purchase for our events, only this website and etix.com are official online ticket purchase points for 2019 Missouri State Fair concerts and events. We cannot guarantee that tickets purchased from other sources are legitimate. We will not be able to assist you if there is a problem with tickets purchased from such companies.”

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