LAPORTE | Country music legend Willie Nelson will be among the highlights of this year's LaPorte County Fair, which begins Sunday and runs through July 13.
Fair manager Gene Shurte said about 5,000 tickets have been sold for the Wednesday night concert beginning at 8 p.m. in the grandstand.
"All of the preferred seats sold out in the first couple of hours," Shurte said.
He said about 2,000 tickets in seats on the wings of the extended grandstand bleachers still remain for sale at $30 apiece.
Shurte said about 67,000 people attended the fair last year, marking another increase in attendance of about 5 to 6 percent over recent years.
Pioneer Land, which began in the mid-1990s and has since expanded to include 12 buildings, is credited with some of the rise in admissions.
A log cabin, old fashioned schoolhouse and the recently expanded blacksmith shop where metal is melted down to make items such as nails and utensils are included in Pioneer Land west of the runway.
"Pioneer Land is one of the greatest attractions we have," said Shurte.
Dick Reel, considered founder of Pioneer Land, said the 12th building in the 1800's village was added this year to house up to 20 quilters who make meet year-round and make quilts for sale to help fund ongoing maintenance and new construction at Pioneer Land.
"We've been working on this since last November," Reel said. Other highlights of the fair, established in 1845, will include a demolition derby at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.
Mr. Speed, a band paying tribute to the popular rock and roll group KISS will perform Friday night, and Saturday night it's the FMX Steel Rodeo Tour featuring world champion X Game motocross riders.
Both grandstand acts start at 8 p.m. and tickets for the shows are $12 and $10 apiece.
Admission into the fairgrounds is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and $2 for children age 10 and up while children 9 and under get in at no cost. Parking is free.