"We're selling them by the dozens," said Tillsonburg Fair 2nd vice-president Frank Kempf.
All three country artists have been recording – Skye and Hart, both from the Ottawa area, just returned from Nashville, while James David Carter just released his new album, Songs on the Radio, available on iTunes. It features eight singles – Call My Name, Songs on the Radio, Love You All Night Long, Little Did I Know, Sweet Mama, County Line, Georgia Day and My Love.
"It went straight to No. 7 on the iTunes country music charts," said Kempf. "Everybody will love it. His music is good for everybody, that's why we got him. It doesn't matter what age – it appeals to all ages."
Based on pre-sales, Tillsonburg's August 15th concert is expected to sell out.
"It'll probably be the biggest concert Tillsonburg has seen," Kempf predicted. "He's playing all the big venues in the States right now."
Carter, who will be flying in from Georgia, will likely catch a Toronto Blue Jays game before his Saturday night performance.
"They were going to let him do the national anthem at the game, but they had already booked somebody."
Concert tickets are available at various local businesses for $30, which includes the $5 Fair admission. Find them at Chrissy's Corner Store, The Country Table, Maple View Variety, Crompton's Home Hardware, Tillsonburg Wine & Beer, My Bar & Grill, $10 Buck Pizza, and Dave's Variety (Delhi), or get them from any fairboard member.
"We're very happy that local businesses in the community are supporting the Fair," said Kempf.
"We expect it's going to grow like Turtlefest has since its infancy (five years ago)."
Traditional fair events like Saturday morning's Baby Show (10 a.m.), Pet Show (11 a.m.) and 4-H Show (12 p.m.) are all on-board for the 2015 Fair, as well as the homecraft section headed by Ilene Chesterman. On Sunday, August 16th, the always-popular Demolition Derby returns with a 6 p.m. show – with a twist. This year Thrill Show Productions is adding a division for kids with 'Hot Wheels ATVs.'
Campbell Amusements, celebrating its 45th anniversary, will bring their midway to the 161st Tillsonburg Fair. Thursday is Toonie Day, and Friday and Sunday are 'bracelet days' where you can ride all the rides for one low price. Pay-one-price ride bracelets are $15 in advance, or $25 at the Fair.
The 2015 Fair also introduces a boatload of new entertainment.
"We're in discussion right now with the Parks and Rec committee about having the Oxford Riding Club put on a rodeo at the Fair this year," said Kempf. "That's another venue we're hoping to have for families."
The Middlesex Dog Agility Club, who did a demonstration (dogs racing through an obstacle course) at the Mount Elgin Family Fun Festival in 2014, will be at the Fair Saturday, August 15th, at 1 p.m.
"It's the one that always comes to Straffordville Watermelon Fest," said fairboard 1st vice Rosemary Dean.
"We're having a larger petting zoo for the children," said Kempf, looking forward to Animal Educational Display and Pony Rides.
Also new this year is the Friday night entertainment – illusionist Lucas Wilson, a three-time Guinness World Record holder from Port Dover. Wilson will perform his unique action-packed show Friday and Sunday.
There are 30 VIP meet-and-greet passes for $10 each following the Sunday, August 16th afternoon show. Half the proceeds will go to the Hamilton McMaster Sick Children's Hospital. To get VIP passes call the fairboard office at 519-842-5964 or Michelle at 519-688-9559.
"It's something different," said Kempf. "That's what we want, we want to bring something different. It's all about bringing new things to the Fair."
And speaking of new, they will have more rabbits this year. A LOT of rabbits.
"Lots of bunnies," Kempf smiled.
"The bunnies have kind of taken over from the poultry," said Dean.
Financially, the 2015 Fair is ahead of last year, said Kempf, who made a presentation to Town Council on Monday, June 22, with Fair president Mike Dean, highlighting their events and attractions.
"They were very enthusiastic about the upcoming Fair," said Kempf. "They are supporting us."