By Taya Wilson
Marketing Intern, Kansas State Fair
The Kansas State Fair is serving up some major Kansas talent in 2019. Sprinkle in some out-of-state flavor, and you've got a recipe for 200-plus outstanding performances on the Fair’s stages — all free with the price of admission.
The Fair recently finalized its free stage concert lineup, which spans all genres of music.
Headlining the concert series is 12-year-old rising country star Mason Ramsey, who will perform Tuesday, Sept. 10 at Bretz and Young Injury Lawyers Arena. That’s followed by Lindsay Ell with Madison Kozak — two more country up-and-comers who perform Thursday, Sept. 12.
Here’s what’s on tap for this year’s free stages.
Chris Housman: Housman, a native of Hanston, Kansas (population 200), taught himself to play the fiddle at age 7. Singing followed, which led to the formation of a traveling family bluegrass/gospel band. Since attending Nashville’s Belmont University, he has been actively writing and performing.
Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers: The Lindsborg Swedish Folk Dancers, established in 1963, is a group of high school dancers dedicated to promoting the study and appreciation of traditional Swedish folk dance and music. This year, the group includes 58 students.
Keefer Madness: Formed by founding member Jim Keefer, the blues band released an album titled "Raw" in 1994 and played throughout the Midwest for a few years. Fast forward to 2014, the band reformed with a new cast of characters and a desire to write and record original music, releasing new album "Hoodoo Train" the next year.
Mariachi Los Reyes: This Wichita-based mariachi family has played throughout the state for over 30 years. The family will do a special event at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13 at Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System Stage at Lake Talbott.
Mike and Glenda’s Magic Show: Mike and Glenda Mann have been performing at the Kansas State Fair for over 15 years. This husband and wife duo works together effortlessly. Glenda astounds the audience with her polished magical presentations, and Mike jokes with a variety of his puppets using ventriloquism.
Crosspoint Church Praise Band: Crosspoint Church is a multi-site church with campuses across Kansas. The Crosspoint Hutch worship team, led by Matt Atherton, is made up of people from all walks of life with an aim to reach Kansans with the Gospel message.
Dulcimer Petting Zoo: Erin Mae, a mountain dulcimer teacher and folk musician from Wichita, along with friends from the Great Plains Dulcimer Alliance & Hutchinson Mountain Dulcimer Players, will bring an instrumental petting zoo to the Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at the Fair’s House of Capper. Kids (and the young at heart) will have the opportunity to “pet” a variety of acoustic instruments, including mountain dulcimers, autoharps, banjos and more. Come meet the instruments, learn how sounds are created and try to play a tune. Then, make your own noise-making instrument to take home.
State Fair Square-Dancing Festival: The State Fair Promenaders and Hutchinson High School will entertain and teach fairgoers square dancing at House of Capper Monday, Sept. 9.
Lecompton Bleeding Kansas Reenactors: These reenactors, part of the Fair’s new Explore Kansas Weekend Sept. 7-8, will depict an 1850s town hall meeting, reflecting the sentiments of that time regarding slavery in Kansas and the eventual vote settlers would take to determine if their new state constitution would allow or prohibit slavery. The 30-minute performance is educational, entertaining and includes audience interaction. The Lecompton Reenactors will perform two days at the Fair — Sunday, Sept. 8 and Monday, Sept. 9.
Others Not to Miss
Casi Joy: A seasoned performer, her impressive social media presence eventually led to a highly-touted run on NBC's The Voice, where she instantly turned all four chairs and was singled out by Rolling Stone as having one of the top 10 blind auditions of all time.
Hypnotist Ron Diamond: A master at all levels of magic and hypnosis, Ron Diamond will intrigue you with his superb sense of timing and humor. With advanced certification in hypnotherapy, he brings his expertise in this field, as well, to his shows so that each and every program promises something different. Diamond is sponsored by Kuhn-Krause.
Great Lakes Navy Band: This special performance coincides with Navy Week, which is coming to Wichita and the Kansas State Fair. The band formed in 1911 and, in 1917, Lieutenant Commander John Philip Sousa became the bandmaster. Today's director is Lieutenant Patrick Hill and the band’s music represents the pride and professionalism that is synonymous with the United States Navy. The band will perform at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11 at Bretz and Young Injury Lawyers Arena.
Meanwhile, don’t forget the Fair’s new Free Concert Series! Two up-and-coming country acts will headline the free series at Bretz and Young Injury Lawyers Arena.
Mason Ramsey, the 12-year-old “Little Hank Williams,” will perform Tuesday, Sept. 10.
Lindsay Ell, this year’s Country Music Association’s Newcomer of the Year nominee, will take the stage Thursday, Sept. 12 with special guest Madison Kozak. Both concerts start at 7:30 p.m. Ell’s concert is sponsored by First Choice Communications, an authorized AT&T Retailer.
This new venue, which will take the place of the grandstand concerts these nights, will have the same beverage amenities available as the grandstand. Beer sales in the arena will start at 6 p.m. and conclude at the end of the show. Food vendors will also be available nearby. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Fairgoers will be able to stand in front of the stage or take a seat in the stands.
For the full free stage lineup and performer biographies, visit the Kansas State Fair website at www.kansasstatefair.com.
Check out the action at the State Fair’s new free stages
This year’s Kansas State Fair free stage lineup will perform at four designated areas, including one new stage location.
Bretz and Young Injury Lawyers Arena
Bretz and Young Injury Lawyers Arena is the main stage of the Fair’s free concert series. It seats more than 2,000 people. It also will be the location of the Fair’s new evening free concert series featuring Mason Ramsey and Lindsay Ell with Madison Kozak.
Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System Stage at Lake Talbott
Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System is the new stage sponsor at Lake Talbott, which also features a good view, along with a new establishment, Charlie’s Place. Charlie’s comes complete with seating and will serve beverages, including “State Fair Beer” brewed by Salt City Beverage of Hutchinson.
House of Capper
This historic building was built in 1916 with funds donated by Gov. Arthur Capper. It is the site of several educational activities, along with the Kansas Arm Wrestling Championships.
**New! Pride of Kansas Free Stage
Hear from Kansans about the exciting things they are doing in their communities. The new stage is located in the Pride of Kansas Building. A few of the names on the list - Irish Photographer Dave McKane will speak about his “Ghost Houses on the Plains” series, Erika Nelson will talk about her “World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things,” Ark City staff will share the finding of the “Lost City of Etzanoa” and outdoor photographer Casey Wilson of Olpe will speak on capturing the booming of Flint Hills prairie chickens.