sounds of the state fair, pt. 2

miranda lambert will help conclude the kentucky state fair on sunday.

miranda lambert will help conclude the kentucky state fair on sunday.

We offered an opening night snapshot of the State Fair last week with a review of the ZZ Top/Brooks & Dunn bill at Freedom Hall. Now, we are left with only four shows in four nights before the fair closes down for another year.

The first three performances are free and will be held outdoors in Cardinal Stadium – just above where the mules and jacks make their traditional exhibition camp during fair season. Wonder what they will make of the Village People.

The fair’s championship horse show has taken over Freedom Hall all this week, but will conclude Saturday night. That means country stars Trace Adkins and Miranda Lambert will wind things up indoors at the fair on Sunday night.

Prior to the ZZ/B&D show, I took a few hours to wander about the fairgrounds and take in the sort of unspoiled sensory overload that only the State Fair can provide. Some observations:

+ The annual Ugly Lamp Contest lives up to its name. Among this year’s entries were lamps made out of a slot machine and a lawn mower.

+ Dairy cows have a thing for Dire Straits. One was in repose in its stall on opening day as a nearby radio blasted Sultans of Swing. She was digging it.

+ Of all the live poultry on hand, ducks seemed to be the least stressed – that is, unless a border collie happened to be chasing them around an exhibition ring and herding them into a cage.

+ From the other end of a vast exhibition hall, the distant crowing of roosters sounded like the wailing cries of damned souls in a ‘50s horror movie.

+ Maybe there was a sale going on, but on opening day you could purchase a young turkey and two duckings for less than the price of a ZZ Top t-shirt.

+ Outside, a brat booth advertised a volcanic hot dog and chill hybrid called simply “The Heartburn.” I kept my distance.

+ Prior to Brooks & Dunn’s set, fans were invited to send text messages to the duo, which were then flashed on screens around the stage. The winner won a backstage pass. My favorite: “Sign my frog.”

And now, the final four concerts of the 2008 Kentucky State Fair…

Thursday: Leroy Van Dyke and the Auctioneers/Jim Ed Brown/Helen Cornelius/Bobby Bare/ Steve and Rudy Gatlin/T.G. Sheppard at Cardinal Stadium – The country music time machine will spin back to the ‘60s (for Van Dyke’s Walk on By), ‘70s (for hit duets by Brown and Cornelius) and ‘80s (heyday for Sheppard and the Gatlins). Bare, on the other hand, has been making Texas-size music since the late ‘50s (free).

Friday: Village People at Cardinal Stadium – Believe it or not, there are still links between the Village People of today and the lineup that was a costumed hit at the height of the disco era. Felipe Rose (“The Indian”) has been on board since the beginning while vocalist Ray Simpson (“The Policeman”) has performed with the group since 1980 (free).

Saturday: Travis Tritt at Cardinal Stadium – Tritt once gave every sign of being heir apparent to the Southern country rock throne of Hank Williams, Jr. Trouble was, Williams never abdicated. After numerous ‘90s hits and a brief 2000 resurgence, Tritt’s thunder has settled (free).

Sunday: Trace Adkins, Miranda Lambert and Keith Anderson at Freedom Hall – After a season with Donald Trump on The Celebrity Apprentice, Adkins is back to testosterone heavy country hits. But Lambert, whose Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is one of the creepiest country singles in recent memory, will likely stir up a fuss of her own ($41, $46).

For further fair info, call (502) 367-5001 (fair hotline) or (502) 367-5002 (concert hotline).

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