Grange Fair has full schedule of musical acts

Dan & Galla are a husband and wife act who have been playing Grange Fair for years.
Dan & Galla are a husband and wife act who have been playing Grange Fair for years. Photo provided

The Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair would not be complete without a full schedule of musical acts performing at the Southside Stage, the Jubilee Grove and the Grandstand.

“We try to do local entertainment,” said Kris McCloskey, an entertainment committee member for the fair who handles booking the acts for the Southside Stage and the Jubilee Grove.

On tap is a variety of country, classic rock, bluegrass, gospel and oldies groups. McCloskey said they try not to repeat acts from previous years to avoid the entertainment becoming stale. She added that this is the fullest schedule they have had for many years.

There is no shortage of acts wanting to perform at the fair.

“I put a notice on Facebook asking for acts interested in the fair, and I didn’t get off the phone for days,” McCloskey said.

Among the acts chosen for the 2016 fair are the Bluegrass Redemption Band, Sgt. Bob, the Midlife Cowboys Band, Second Winds, Little German Band and Dan & Galla, who also stroll around the fair while performing.

Dan & Galla are a unique husband and wife act. Galla, who is of Russian descent, plays the three-stringed balalaika, guitar, flute and ukulele, while Dan plays the piano, keyboards, accordion and trumpet, according to their website. They play a variety of music including standards from the 1950s and ’60s, ragtime, polkas, calypso, patriotic and pop music.

The duo has been at the fair for years and “are very entertaining,” McCloskey said.

A new event this year is a Celebrity Chef Farm to Table series, which will have local chefs preparing local food. McCloskey has also scheduled two karaoke nights, a ventriloquist and a magician for the fair.

The Grandstand will see several popular country acts, a Christian rock singer and a disco tribute band.

Shirley Heidrich, of the fair entertainment committee, has been booking the acts since 1996. She inherited the job from her father, Don Fry.

She said she tries to get the newer, upcoming stars from Ohio-based entertainment booking company Variety Attractions. The fair has been working with the company for more than 50 years. Heidrich trusts the judgment of Variety Attractions’ George Moffett, who, she said, “has a knack of bringing good acts.”

Some years ago, he suggested a new artist to Heidrich’s father, saying, “you have to get this guy. He’s going to be good.” It was Garth Brooks.

This year Heidrich said she’s happy with the Grandstand performers. She said she’s received calls from outside the area about some of the artists — Collin Ray, in particular.

Ray, who will perform Aug. 26, has been making hit records since the 1990s. He’s had numerous top 10 records with 16 hitting No. 1, including “Love, Me,” “In this Life” and “I Can Still Feel You.”

The crowd on Friday will be entertained by country singer Jana Kramer, who you may also know from television and movies. She portrayed Alex Dupre on “One Tree Hill.” Her latest hit is “I Got the Boy,” which reached No. 5 on the country charts.

On Saturday, Centre Hall native Adam Yarger will return home to perform and promote his latest country EP, “Find Me Fishing.” James Wesley, who first hit the country charts in 1999 with “Life Goes On,” will take the Grandstand stage on Aug. 21. His song “Thank a Farmer” debuted during Super Bowl XLVII.

Other soloists at the Grandstand include 23-year-old country singer William Michael Morgan on Aug. 22 and contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Matt Maher, who will perform on Aug. 23. Raelynn from “The Voice” season two will perform on Aug. 27.

On Aug. 24, “Stayin’ Alive,” a Canadian Bee Gees tribute group, will perform some of the legendary band’s biggest hits including, “How Deep is Your Love” and “Nights on Broadway,” in addition to the group’s 1960s hits, “I Started a Joke” and “Massachusetts.”

Country group Parmalee will perform on Aug. 25. The group’s hits include the catchy “Musta Had a Good Time” “Carolina” and “Close Your Eyes,” all of which appeared on the country charts.

On the web

Find bios of each Grandstand headliner at www.grangefair.com