POINT PLEASANT — For well over half a century, the Mason County Fair has made history by bringing top musical acts to a local stage.
The country music royalty the fair has welcomed includes Dolly Parton, George Straight, Keith Urban, Marie Osmond, Roy Acuff, Larry Gatlin and many more over the years. Going back to 1967, the first national performers to grace the fair’s main stage, based upon records provided by the Willis Brothers Grand Ole Opry Show, were Porter Wagoner and the Wagon Masters, with Norma Jean.
The overall biggest stars as of this date who have performed at the fair, have likely been Parton, Strait, Urban and Osmond, according to fair entertainment chairman Brian Billings. When it comes to repeat performers at the fair, Bill Anderson has played four times, Gene Watson three times, The Hinsons four times, the Florida Boys three times and holding the record for the most appearances is Rick K. and the Allnighters who have taken the stage five times.
“For 56 years the Mason County Fair has brought some of the top stars from Nashville, in country and gospel music, according to Billings. “This year we will be adding our fourth tribute group to the fair, meaning if we can’t achieve the services of the actual individual or group, we will have the next best thing.”
This year’s entertainers will be performing on the remodeled, revamped main stage and those entertainers include Aaron Tippin, Kentucky Headhunters, John Anderson, Absolute Journey Tribute and The Kingsmen Quartet.
This year’s musical entertainment begins with the “Gospel Night” headliner, The Kingsmen Quartet at 8 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 8.
For more than a half century, no group has secured such a far reaching legacy like that of The Kingsmen Quartet. Those who love gospel music won’t want to miss this amazing group, Billings said. Billings added, since 1956, this group has risen from humble beginnings in the mountains of western North Carolina to one of the most beloved and innovative groups in Christian music. Many countless renowned artists have been a part of this great quartet, Eldridge Fox, “Big” Jim Hamill, Ray Dean Reese, Squire Parsons, Johnny Parrack, Anthony Burger, Ernie Phillips, Gary Sheppard, and many others. The momentum has not stopped as the group continues to help define the Southern Gospel genre for a whole new generation of music lovers, perhaps more so than any other group. “The key is to never lose sight of what we are working towards,” says Ray Reese, Kingsmen manager and bass singer. “We tour year in and year out to spread our music to people across the country. Our music has a message, the message of Christ.”
Then on Wednesday, Aug. 9, classic rock fans will welcome Absolute Journey Tribute at 9 p.m. According to Billings the band will be “Performing Journey to the highest level of musicianship with outstanding vocals as sung by Riccardo Curzi. His vocal talents are described as one of the closest things you will ever hear compared to Steve Perry. The band complements him with amazing backing vocals and wows the audience with an exciting and energetic live performance.” Absolute Journey Tribute reportedly brings a faithful reproduction of a Journey live show, enriched by audience interactivity and true to the original costume changes. “After watching Absolute Journey Tribute, you will feel like you have just left an actual Journey concert…and that is the goal to leave a lasting impression,” Billings said.
Country music takes over at 9 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 10 with Aaron Tippin Duo. Known as one of country music’s most notable artists, Tippin will grace the Mason County Fair stage in a duo setting of music and guitar picking, according to Billings. He has over 25 years of recording and entertaining audiences. Tippin’s first hit single, “You’ve Got To Stand For Something”, hit the Billboard Country singles chart – peaking at #6. The hits continued to pile up – “There Ain’t Nothing Wrong With The Radio”, “My Blue Angel”, “Workin’ Man’s PhD”, and “That’s As Close As I’ll Get To Loving You.” As the new millennium dawned, Tippin returned to the top of the charts with “Where The Stars and Stripes and Eagle Flys,” a song that became part of the American soundtrack during the aftermath of 9/11.
Friday, Aug. 11, the Kentucky Headhunters take the fair stage at 9 p.m. The Kentucky Headhunters is an American country rock and Southern rock band. The group was founded in 1968 as the Itchy Brothers. The group began performing as the Kentucky Headhunters in 1986. In 1989 they released their debut album “Pickin’ on Nashville” via Mercury Records, the band charted four consecutive Top 40 country singles. Over the years with changes made to the group the Kentucky Headhunters have released eight studio albums, three compilations, and twenty three singles. In addition, the band has won three Country Music Association awards, and Academy of Country Music award and a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, won in 1990 for “Pickin’ on Nashville.”
“You can’t go wrong with this group they are definitely one of the best in the music genre today,” Billings said.
Providing the musical finale at the fair on Saturday, Aug. 12 will be John Anderson performing at 9 p.m. on the main stage.
“We are very excited to have signed a giant like John Anderson,” according to Billings. Anderson has had some of the biggest hits in the music industry, “I’m just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday”, “Swingin’,” Seminole Wind”, “Straight Tequila Night”, “When It Comes To You”, “Money In The Bank” and so many more. In a Country Music Hall of Fame worthy career that has produced 23 albums, more than 60 singles (20 reaching the Top 10), and a wealth of industry awards you don’t want to miss this super entertainer, Billings, added.
The Mason County Fair Queen Contest will be take the main stage at 8 p.m., Monday, Aug. 7. The dedication to the fair stage will be that same evening at 7:30 p.m. and the fair dedication at 7:45 p.m.