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  • Fairbury News staff

An 'incredible' night for Fairbury

Jo Dee Messina performs her hits in Fairbury Wednesday evening.

Country music radiated from the Fairbury Fair main stage Wednesday night as recording artists Jo Dee Messina and Kelsey Hickman took the stage.

Fair secretary Chris Matich described the night as incredible.

“By all accounts, it was probably one of the biggest Wednesday night crowds in a long, long time,” Matich said Thursday morning.

Messina performed for more than an hour – singing many of her signature hits including “Bye Bye” and “I’m Alright.” Concertgoers were seen singing along to many of Messina’s tunes. She even added a little Christian music and rock ‘n roll to the mix.

“It was a younger crowd and they were into the music,” said Matich. “With (Jo Dee) having nine number one hits, her following was incredible.”

Matich believes the success of the evening is something for the fair to build on for the rest of the weekend and next year as well. Plenty of hard work went into landing Messina in Fairbury as fair board members were still working past midnight on cleanup and counting tickets the next morning.

According to Matich, if the people who stood on the track were seated, the grandstand would have been full. Musical acts are typically booked in October and the fair board will look at getting something booked for next year’s fair this fall.

“This is a good way to plant a seed and get it growing.”

Hickman got the crowd energized as the opening act by performing a number of familiar tunes and a few of her own. She even signed autographs on the midway in front of the grandstand following her performance.

Fairgrounds and race track owner and board member Matt Curl felt the crowd was fantastic and the weather was perfect. As the crowd continued to grow up until show time, Curl knew the fair would be in great shape.

“When Jo Dee stepped out there, it was just electric,” Curl said.

Thursday night’s big event is the midget races, the demolition derby is Friday, more racing is planned for Saturday and Sunday’s highlight is the talent show which returns after several years.

The 143rd Fairbury Fair runs through Sunday.

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