The Hillsdale County Fair has entertained thousands of people with big name country concerts, but this year, the Fair’s headlining entertainment will be taking a new direction.
Instead of bringing in a top artist like they have for the past several years, the Fair will be hosting a monster truck motorsports event. The decision to set aside the traditional concert was a hard one, according to Fair manager Mark Williams.
“We just weren’t getting enough support from the community,” Williams said. “We only sold 1,600 tickets to Justin Moore last year, so we actually lost money on the production.”
Williams said the price for concert tickets has steadily increased over the past few years because the musical acts continue to get more expensive. He said the higher charge and the change of weather contribute to locals foregoing the concerts.
“People hesitate to buy tickets because of the weather,” said Rod Beach, Director and Chairman of the Fair’s Entertainment Committee.
Beach said that unlike the concerts, the monster truck event will occur, rain or shine.
“It’s more reasonable for us to put on,” he said. “Monster trucks can go on during rain or snow or whatever else hits us.”
The event, sponsored by All Star Motorsport Productions, will take place on Sept. 24 and will feature four trucks driven by nationally renowned, professional drivers.
Brian Wagner, president of All Star, said the Hillsdale County Fair is one of 70 shows at which his trucks will be featured. Although this will be All Star’s first event in Hillsdale, Wagner said his team travels more than 100,000 miles across the country throughout the year, bringing their trademark “roar” with them.
“Hillsdale contacted us because they wanted the best monster truck entertainment, and that’s what we’re here to do,” Wagner said.
Beach said the Hillsdale County Fair hasn’t seen monster trucks in 15 years, and he believes they will draw large crowds.
“It’s the speed, the motor part of it, the noise, the thrill. That’s what people want,” he said.
Future concerts at the Hillsdale County Fair might still be a reality, however, said Williams. The Fair Board is already revisiting the idea and is considering sponsoring a summer rock ’n’ roll concert.
“I’m a concert guy,” Beach said. “I want to be able to continue that tradition in the future.”
In the past, the Fair has brought headlining artists like Justin Moore and Florida Georgia Line to perform. Williams said he hopes the Fair will be able to eventually continue that trend.
“This doesn’t mean we won’t have music in the future,” he said. “But we needed to give something else a try.”