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State Fair

"State Fair" opens today in Highland

Peggy Glennie, director of Highland Park Performing Arts’ production of “State Fair,” thinks the long-loved musical is fitting for her ensemble's annual summer production.

"For a family friendly show, and for a small town like Highland, this is really the perfect show," she said. "And Main Square Gazebo in Main Square Park is a wonderful place to view a stage play."

Running today through Aug. 5, “Fair” follows the Frakes, a family of farmers who make their way to Des Moines for three days at Iowa’s annual fair. Parents Abel and Melissa are hoping to leave with blue ribbons, while their children, Margy and Wayne, are ending to respective matters of the heart.

Based on a 1932 novel, “Fair” was adapted for the big screen on three occasions, first a year after the book’s publication and most successfully in 1945 with music by beloved songsmiths Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.

Featuring songs such as the Oscar award winning “It Might as Well Be Spring,” “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” and “That’s for Me,” “Fair” made it to Broadway in 1996, where it received a pair of Tony Award nominations including Best Score.

"It's a great story," Glennie said. "The family sticks together, the nice guy finishes first, and people get what they deserve in a way, but in a good way."

The cast, which is made up of approximately 20 actors, singers and dancers, will be augmented by a full band for each performance.

"People will see a musical done with real musicians and see just how wonderful it is," Glennie said. "A lot of plays with musicals today (are accompanied by) a keyboard. But we're using actual musicians to really bring out the music. It's going to be a glorious time."

Programs and refreshments will be sold at “Fair,” with proceeds from the sales going toward offsetting Highland Park Performing Arts’ production budget. Attendees are encouraged to bring bug spray and lawn chairs.