State Fair Features Chicago, Skynyrd, and the Return of Mel Tillis
By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief - bio | email
The Nebraska State Fair's secret weapon is back. Three years after the fair turned away thousands of senior citizens, Mel Tillis returns along with classic rock, Christian pop, and country favorites.
Eighty years young and still packing them in, Mel Tillis returns to one of the more infamous scenes in Nebraska State Fair history -- year one in Grand Island when busloads missed the show.
The lesson learned? Schedule two shows on Older Nebraskans Day.
It's just one of four free shows at the Heartland Events Center, not to mention dozens and dozens of acts all over the grounds.
Events and Entertainment Director Chelsey Jungck said, "Grounds and strolling entertainment I think is one of the best parts of the Nebraska State Fair, an added value to your $10 gate admission."
The popular Sea Lion Encounters show is back for a second year, along with some new animal attractions like the Butterfly Adventures.
Fairgoers will want to walk, or take a shuttle to see it all.
Facilities Director Jaime Parr said, "People will not want to miss the East Entertainment Area. We will have lots of food products there. We have a new saloon, the Silver Spur Saloon, lots of great entertainment, unique animal displays."
"We're growing east and have need for more space to accommodate large ground attractions," Jungck said.
In addition, there will be a BMX bike show, wild west comedy show, pirate high wire act, and the always-popular racing pigs.
And while you're in the Family Fun Zone, look up and see an unofficial attraction.
Jungck said, "Right behind the Family Fun Zone this year, behind the major attractions you'll see construction of the Nebraska Building taking place. That is a little entertainment value for you to watch big steel beams go up."
Plus concerts by Trace Adkins, TobyMac, Chicago, and yes... Mel Tillis.
"No way you can get it all done in one day at the State Fair," Jungck said.
Kellie Pickler - Friday, August 23, 7:30 p.m. FREE Concert
Trace Adkins - Sunday, August 25, 6:00 p.m. $18 plus gate admission, facility fees, & Ticketmaster fees