Summer in Grays Harbor County brings thoughts of family fun, games and rides, the aroma of outdoor cooking, and visions of a variety of farm animals. It is fair time. The Grays Harbor County Fair is a summer tradition. Located in Elma, fair goers travel from Grays Harbor and beyond to celebrate on August 10 – 14. The Grays Harbor County Fair strives to showcase the best of the county’s agriculture, art and industry. Yet this small county fair is perhaps best known for headliner quality music acts attracting attendees throughout the state.

grays harbor county fair
The Grays Harbor County Fair has become well known for securing headlining entertainment of up and coming country bands such as Parmalee. Photo courtesy: Grays Harbor County Fair.

“It is very important for us to bring in top quality entertainment and to offer something special to the people of Grays Harbor at an affordable price,” says Grays Harbor County Fair Manager, Mike Bruner. “We are unique in that we offer the traditional fair attractions with rides, games and fair food, but we are one of a kind in that we are a small fair that offers big-time entertainment.”

“Not many fairs our size offer the headliner quality music acts that we have been able to bring in for many years and have become known for.” Bruner adds, “In addition to our amazing musicians, we also offer smaller stage entertainment with a variety of comedians and acts. There is a little bit for everyone at our fair.”

Headlining concerts this year feature Brothers Osborne and Tanya Tucker. Grammy Award nominees the Brothers Osborne are best known for their hit singles “Stay a Little Longer” and “Rum.” The country-rock siblings started their musical journey during household jam sessions and now claim to be carving their own path in country music with an old school rock approach that features a singer and guitar playing duo.

grays harbor county fair
At the 2014 Grays Harbor County Fair, then rising star, singer and songwriter Thomas Rhett performed on the main stage. Photo courtesy: Grays Harbor County Fair.

Tanya Tucker will be the headliner concert on Thursday with the Jessie Leigh Band as her opener. Tanya Tucker is a classic, modern-day legend and one of the best female artists in country music history. Tucker is well known for her hits such as “Delta Dawn,” “Two Sparrows in a Hurricane,” and “It’s a Little Too Late.”

A definitive Pacific Northwest favorite band, Corey Daniels and Humptulips will be returning to perform at the Grays Harbor County Fair on Friday, August 12. This local country band with a twist of rock has been voted best country band in the Northwest as well as recognized as the 2014 Portland Battle of the Bands Champion.

Rod Easton, Grays Harbor County Fair events coordinator, has been pivotal in helping to secure top quality headlining entertainment for the fair. Easton’s experience in securing headlining musicians has attributed to the Grays Harbor County Fair’s reputation as the go-to fair in the area for music.

“Music is a critical piece of our fair,” says Easton. “We take great pride in being a small fair with big time music. The first fair that started with a big name entertainer was in 1973 with Barbara Mandrell. She was just gaining fame at that time. But since Mandrell, we have been able to secure up and coming entertainers using our limited entertainment budget. We are strategic with finding musicians just before their break or young artists just hitting the big time. Over the years we have had Johnny Cash, Clint Black, and Dierks Bently. Tim McGraw in 1994 was probably the biggest show ever for us — he was huge.”

grays harbor county fair
Charlie Daniels, known for his contributions to country, bluegrass and Southern rock music performed at the Grays Harbor County Fair in 2012. Photo courtesy: Grays Harbor County Fair.

The Grays Harbor County Fair partners with Romeo Entertainment Group out of Nashville. Easton explains, “We really pay close attention to what is going on in the music industry. And with the help of one of the largest booking agencies in the country who really understands what our fair goers enjoy, we are able to get some of the best new and traditional performers. We try to get a good mix of country, classic rock, and a local band. So Wednesday will be more modern country with Brothers Osborne, Thursday will be classic country with Tanya Tucker, Friday will feature the popular local band of Corey Daniel and Humptulips, and Saturday provides the best value for fairgoers. Attendees can see Appetite for Deception, ranked as one of the best Guns and Roses tribute acts in the world. The Saturday car races and concert are both free with general fair admission.”

grays harbor county fair
Multi-platinum country music artist Clay Walker headlined at Grays Harbor County Fair in 2013. Photo courtesy: Grays Harbor County Fair.

Fair admission is only $10 per day for adults while youth and seniors are $6, children under 5 are admitted free and there is a $2 military discount.

“The Grays Harbor County Fair is a great value,” adds Bruner. “You cannot even go to a movie and get popcorn for the amount of our fair admission. Plus there are a lot of free attractions and entertainment included, like car races, small stage acts and animal exhibits. There are 20 different food vendors from all over the state and over 100 commercial vendors showcasing anything from health products to home improvement goods and so much more. And really, my favorite is the traditional fair food — corn dogs, scones, corn on the cob, and fresh squeezed lemonade. It doesn’t get better than that.”

The Grays Harbor County Fair takes place August 10 – 14. To learn more about the fair, visit Grays Harbor County Fair online.

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