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  • Fairbury News staff

More big names for fair

John Michael Montgomery performs at the 2022 Fairbury Fair in August / file photo.

You can add Leah Marlene and Sawyer Brown to the growing list of popular musical acts performing at the Fairbury Fair.

Both are set to perform during the 147th fair which runs Aug. 16-20, 2023. Leah Marlene, a Normal native, was a finalist on the popular television show American Idol last season. Opening for her will be local artist Patrick McGreal from Chatsworth.

“Patrick has entertained at the Fairbury Speedway in the past and we gave him the opportunity to open for Leah,” said fair board member Gunner Sullivan.

The show will be opening night of the fair with Leah and Patrick, on Aug. 16. Doors will open at 5 p.m. with the first performance starting at 6:30 p.m. followed by the main show at 8 p.m.

Two days later on Aug. 18, the main grandstand concert act will be country band Sawyer Brown, known for a number of hits in the 1980s and 1990s on country radio. They released 18 studio albums and have charted over 50 times on the Hit Country Songs charts with three number one singles, “Step That Step” from 1985, “Some Girls Do” from 1992 and “Thank God for You” in 1993.

“They’ve been around 40 plus years,” notes Sullivan.

Stone Cold Cowboys, a talented band from the Peoria area, will open for Sawyer Brown. According to Sullivan, they have a large following and social media presence.

The fair board has been impressed with crowds for all three of the previous fair concerts since the Fairbury Fair went back to booking major musical acts. Jo Dee Messina, Diamond Rio and John Michael Montgomery were all hits for fairgoers and they are looking for more of the same from Sawyer Brown and Stone Cold Cowboys.

New in 2023, the Fairbury Fair partnered with Fairbury Speedway to offer free grandstand admission to the races on the Saturday night of the fair which will be Fairbury Speedway's fan appreciation night.

“Spectators will pay just $5 at the gate to get on the fairgrounds then the races will be absolutely free in the grandstands,” added Sullivan.

This is a way to get more people on the grounds for the fair and the races. For concert and 2023 fair updates, visit or follow the fair’s page on Facebook.

Sponsors include Compeer Financial for the Leah Marlene show and Brandt Consolidated, Bank of Pontiac and Gibson Area Hospital for Sawyer Brown.

“We are excited these businesses help us put these events on,” said Sullivan.

Grandstand Concerts took care of all the booking of the concerts while the Leon Edwards Marketing Company is doing all marketing and online ticket sales.

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