Let’s take a moment to touch on a near-universal truth: You’re never too old to enjoy the fair. After all, it’s practically impossible to resist the allure of carnival rides, pig races and deep-fried food.
This year’s festivities start off with two days of roping cattle and bucking broncos presented by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. General admission to the rodeo is $5 while reserved seats are $8, and $1 from each ticket sold for today’s show will be donated to local breast cancer awareness charity Because There Is Hope.
But the biggest attractions each year are the major musical acts performing at the fair’s grandstand. Last year’s event brought such rock royalty as Styx, Blues Traveler and Huey Lewis and the News, and 2013’s lineup proves to be as diverse, with every genre from classic rock to heavy metal to modern country represented. Here’s a rundown of the artists you can expect to see over the next week:
• Hotel California: A Salute to the Eagles, Sunday, 7 p.m. Don’t listen to what Jeff Lebowski says: The Eagles are still relevant in this day and age. The tribute act Hotel California, named after the Eagles’ hugely successful 1976 album, recapture the sound and feel of L.A.’s most famous soft rock group. You’ll hear all the hits – “Desperado,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” “Take It Easy,” “Witchy Woman” – as well as selected tracks from the members’ respective solo careers. $5-10.
• Herman’s Hermits with Peter Noone, Monday, 7 p.m. No other band during the British Invasion rivaled the Beatles in terms of popularity, but Herman’s Hermits came pretty close. With hit singles like “I’m Into Something Good,” “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” and “I’m Henry VIII, I Am,” the Hermits helped define 1960s Brit pop. They’re still fronted by original lead singer Peter Noone, who was just a teenager when the band had its first No. 1 record in 1965. $5-10.
• The Band Perry, Tuesday, 7 p.m. The Band Perry has only been on the country scene for a few years, but they’ve already made quite a splash. Consisting of siblings Kimberly, Neil and Reid Perry, the group has racked up three No. 1 country singles since 2010 (“If I Die Young,” “All Your Life” and “Better Dig Two”), and their self-titled debut album has been certified platinum. $25-35.
• Eli Young Band, Wednesday, 7 p.m . Another recent country sensation, the Eli Young Band has been making music since the early 2000s but has just started to receive mainstream recognition. Two of the group’s recent singles, “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and “Crazy Girl,” topped the country charts, with the latter winning Song of the Year at the 2012 Academy of Country Music Awards. $15-25.
• Carnival of Madness featuring Shinedown, Skillet, Papa Roach and In This Moment, Thursday, 6 p.m. If you want the most bang for your buck, here are four major alt-rock groups for the price of one. Florida’s Shinedown is best known for its hit single “Second Chance,” Skillet is a Grammy-nominated Christian rock group, Papa Roach was all over the radio in 2000 with the song “Last Resort,” and In This Moment is a metalcore act whose last album topped the Hard Rock charts. According to the fair’s website, this show is rated PG-13. $25-35.
• MercyMe, Sept. 13, 7 p.m. This year’s music lineup finishes with Texas-based Christian rock sextet MercyMe. The group’s breakout single, “I Can Only Imagine,” was a surprise crossover hit and made them the rare inspirational group to crack Top 40 radio. They’ve won a number of American Music and Gospel Music awards, and each of their last five studio albums has topped the U.S. Christian charts. $15-25.
If you’re looking to indulge your inner destructive streak, the fair’s final weekend will offer two different demolition derbies (admission costs are identical to the rodeo prices). Cars, trucks and, yes, even minivans smash into one another in the next best thing to those “Fast & Furious” movies.
Added to this: two carnivals and buildings full of agricultural displays, farm animals, arts and crafts, antique machinery and mutton busting. Can you think of a better way to close out the summer?