LIMA — Three-time Grammy Award winner Brad Paisley will headline at the Allen County Fair this year.
Paisley will perform Saturday, Aug. 22, according to a post on the fair's Facebook page.
“Brad was at the top of our list the whole time,” Allen County Fair General Manager Bob Fricke said of the search for next year’s act. “We were given the verbal (agreement) we were going to get him in early November, but we weren’t able to announce it publicly. We were thrilled once we got the word to announce Dec. 3.”
Fricke said the hunt for Paisley began in March when they started looking at who would be touring the region and what’s happening at Country Concert. Last year’s headliner, Kane Brown, wasn’t announced until May for the August concert, so Fricke is more than pleased with this year’s timetable.
“We were hoping to originally announce before the fair this year — that’s our hope every year — but the artist’s agencies control the announcement and time when the tickets go on sale,” he explained. “Typically when we get the green light, everything happens in about four to six weeks, but we turned it over in a week and a half because this is too big of an opportunity to wait to announce, especially with this caliber of an act in front of Christmas.”
Paisley has churned out 18 Billboard No. 1 hits, including “We Danced,” “He Didn’t Have to Be,” “Mud on the Tires,” “Water,” “When I Get Where I’m Going,” “She’s Everything,” “The World,” “I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin’ Song),” “Waitin’ on a Woman” and “Ticks.” He’s a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 2001 and won two American Music Awards, 15 Academy of Country Music Awards and 14 Country Music Association Awards, including entertainer of the year.
In regards to booking another country act for the 2020 fair, Fricke said they are simply going by what their audience responded to. Brown, last year’s performer, also sits at the top of the country charts alongside Paisley.
“Last year was the largest crowd, a sellout,” he said. “We’ve looked at other genres of music, but again, it’s all about what’s available to us at that time of the year and the price. We love to bring top-notch acts to Allen County but sometimes because of price, we can’t. Brad’s a large commitment from us to bring him in. He’s a national superstar, and the board committed to bringing in big-name entertainment for the fair.”
Prior to Brown, country band Lady Antebellum was the last to record a sellout crowd, in 2015.
“Our intent is always to bring in the best entertainment we can, and Brad has been well supported so far,” Fricke said. “We’re never going to find an act to make everyone 100% percent happy with what we’re doing, but we are doing the best we can, and it’s not something that’s done quickly or lightly. There’s a lot of time invested looking into options, and there have been some we’ve tried getting but couldn’t. Brad was our No. 1 pick this year, and we got him.”
Tickets for the concert will go on sale at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10 at allencofair.com or at the fair box office. Tickets begin at $45 for grandstand and bleachers, $60 for track seating, $70 for party pit and $100 for the VIP pit. Prices include service charges but do not include a general admission ticket to the fair, which is required.