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Legendary rock, hip-hop, country and international icons to play county fair

In just a short time the Stanislaus County Fair will open the gates for their 105th year and along with all the blue ribbons, fast rides and jumbo corndogs will be a bevy of entertainment options for fairgoers.

The Stanislaus County Fair begins a 10-day run July 8, with nearly every night seeing a new headlining band or performer take to the Bud Light Variety Free Stage. All shows are included in the price of fair admission.

Kicking off the Stanislaus County Fair will be pop singer Rachel Platten, whose hit “Fight Song” has been running up the charts.

“Rachel Platten is an up and coming sensation with music that connects the audience through her inspirational messages,” said Adrenna Alkhas, spokesperson for the Stanislaus County Fair. “She will bring a whole new performance dynamic that will captivate the audience.”

Platten’s label debut “Wildfire” was released at the start of this year and sparked a promotional tour that has seen her perform around the world. “Fight Song” has topped iTunes and radio charts, and sold more than 2 million downloads in the U.S. alone.

“I’m in love with the idea of connecting people,” Platten said. “Bringing people together is to me, the most important thing we can do in this life. I feel like that’s my mission with my music. I think that’s why I’m getting this chance right now.”

The following night at the Fair will have a distinctive rock and roll vibe as Night Ranger comes to town.

Night Ranger shot to fame in the 1980s with hits like “Sister Christian” and “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me.” They have sold over 17 million albums worldwide, and their songs have also been featured in Oscar-nominated films and hit TV shows. In 1983, Night Ranger earned widespread acclaim for their multi-platinum album “Midnight Madness,” which included their well-known hits, “Sister Christian,” When You Close Your Eyes,” and “(You Can Still) Rock In America.” Night Ranger continues to celebrate their 30th anniversary by non- stop touring, playing to sold-out shows around the world.

“Night Ranger is one of those iconic rock bands that know what it means to put on a fantastic show,” said Alkhas. “Their rockin’ 80’s hits will have their fans reminiscing and on their feet the entire time.”

The first of two Hispanic acts will take to the fair’s stage on July 10. Noel Torres, well-known for his corridosas La Guanábana, La Estructura, and No Andan Cazando Venados will be performing. The singer and songwriter has crossed borders, winning the respect of both corrido fans and his musical peers. Meanwhile, his romantic hits such as Adivina, Me Interesas, and Para Que Tantos Besos have earned him multiple awards and nominations at Latin music's most prestigious award ceremonies. He is one of the few artists to achieve three consecutive #1 hits at radio on the best-known charts: Billboard Regional Mexican, Monitor Latino, and Nielsen BDS.

“Hispanic acts are one of the most popular attractions we have at the Fair,” said Alkhas. “Their performances always bring in a big crowd and we are very excited to have them all performing at Fair.”

Parmalee, the country band that has been rising in popularity since their 2014 debut, will be playing at the Stanislaus County Fair on July 12.

“Parmalee is an amazing country group,” said Alkhas. “We wanted to bring in a country rock act to attract our younger demographic as well and I know that they will put on a fantastic show.”

Parmalee’s unique country rock sound has its roots in the bluegrass, traditional country, and southern rock genres, making them universally favored among country music fans. Parmalee recently made history when its multi-week #1 smash “Carolina” became the longest climbing single by a group in the 24-year history of the Billboard Country Airplay Chart. Their debut country album, “Feels Like Carolina”, has earned praise from numerous music critics. In 2014, Parmalee earned a semi-finalist nod for the Academy of Country Music’s coveted “New Artist of the Year” award. Their latest hit, “Close Your Eyes,” recently became their second consecutive Top 3 hit on country radio. The band’s critically-acclaimed new single, “Already Callin’ You Mine” is peaking at Top 30 on Country Radio.

Diva Chaka Khan has been wowing audiences with her soulful sound for decades and is expected to continue that tradition when she takes the stage at the Stanislaus County Fair.

From the moment she burst onto the music scene in the 1970’s as the lead singer of the band Rufus, her show-stopping stage presence set her apart from any other singer. During her 40-year career, she has developed a vast international fan base and performed on six continents. Popular hits like “I’m Every Woman,” “Ain’t Nobody” and “Through the Fire” has made Chaka Khan an iconic figure in the music business.

Chaka Khan is a 10-time Grammy Award winner, with 22 Grammy nominations to her name. Her most recent Grammy came in 2002 with her cover of the Marvin Gaye mega-hit, “What’s Going On” with The Funk Brothers. She has the unique ability to sing in eight music genres, including R&B;, jazz, pop, rock, gospel, country, classical and dance music. She has released 22 albums and racked up 10 #1 Billboard magazine charted songs, eight Recording Industry Artist Association certified gold singles and 11 RIAA certified gold and platinum albums.

“Chaka Khan is a musical icon,” said Alkhas. “The concert will be fierce with a high energy performance bringing all her loved songs.”

Legendary performers will continue to grace the stage at the Stanislaus County Fair when country superstar Dwight Yoakam plays on July 14.

Yoakam’s distinctive vocals, accented with his Kentucky croon, have made him a fan favorite for decades since debut album in 1985. Its release immediately yielded hit singles, and over the course of over 21 albums – totaling more than 25 million in sales worldwide – Yoakam has continued to passionately sing, write, and play music brimming with hard country and rock & roll. His latest record, “Second Hand Heart” was self-produced by Yoakam, and reflects where he has been, but also where he is going.

“Songs never die – they’re just reborn,” Yoakam said. “All of us have that need to remind ourselves that life is always worth trying, every day – surviving to hope.”

Country music artist Kellie Pickler has previously delighted audiences at the Stanislaus County Fair and is expected to do so again when she takes the stage July 15.

“Kellie Pickler is a talented and charismatic performer who wins everyone’s hearts,” said Alkhas. “We are extremely excited to have her back performing at the Fair.”

Pickler grew up immersed in country music in the small town of Albemarle, North Carolina with the words of Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton shaping her musical footing. She was first introduced into the music scene as a contestant on the fifth season of “American Idol.” Pickler has gone on to release four critically acclaimed albums, including her Gold-certified debut “Small Town Girl” as well as “100 Proof,” which Rolling Stone named the Best Country Album of 2011. Among her best known hits are the Gold-certified “Red High Heels,” “I Wonder,” and “Best Days of Your Life.”

As the fair comes to the end of its 10-day run R&B; music star Ashanti will be taking the stage. Ashanti landed the #1 spot on both the Billboard Top 200 and R&B; album charts with her self-titled debut album “Ashanti.”

With her hit song, "Foolish," Ashanti also secured the #1 top spot on SIX Billboard charts simultaneously, including Hot R&B;/ Hip-Hop Airplay, The Billboard 200, Hot R&B;/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks, Hot 100 Airplay, Top R&B;/Hip-Hop Albums and Hot 100! "Foolish" stayed on the Billboard charts for 11 consecutive weeks.

“Ashanti will put on a fantastic show,” said Alkhas. “Her upbeat R&B;/ Hip-Hop tempo will have the audience mesmerized and dancing the night away.”

The final act to grace the fair’s stage will be Bronco, the Hispanic act that earned a string of international hits in the 80s and 90s. Band members José Guadalupe Esparza, Ramiro Delgado, Javier Villareal, and José Luís 'Choche' Villareal crafted a sound that paid tribute to the northern tradition while incorporating modern instruments like keyboards, as well as a more melodic, pop style with elaborate costumes.

All shows at the Stanislaus County Fair begin at 8:30 p.m.