The Foothills Country Fair has a reputation for offering family fun and great entertainment in a safe environment.
This year, the fair is being taken to the next level — thanks to legendary country superstar Ricky Skaggs and the famous Cashdales from Check Into Cash.
Skaggs, a 14-time Grammy winner, will be featured on the Foothills Country Fair stage for the 9 p.m. concert July 26.
“We expect to set an attendance record because so many people are already excited,” said Fair chairman Louie Alford.
“When you put the Cashdales — a select group of Clydesdale horses — and Ricky Skaggs — one of the greatest entertainers of all time — together, great things are going to happen. This is going to be a great event in America’s history. I can’t imagine that anyone would want to miss it.”
Skaggs, who made his Grand Ole Opry debut at age 7, celebrated his 50th year in music in 2011 with the release of “Country Hits Bluegrass Style.”
Born in Cordell, Ky., Skaggs was taught to play mandolin at age 5 by his father Hobart. At age 7, he had performed with bluegrass legends Flatt and Scruggs on their syndicated television show.
In 1971, Skaggs, along with a friend, the late Keith Whitley, joined the bluegrass band of Ralph Stanley. In the late 1970s, Skaggs turned his musical talents to country music. He served as a member of Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band.
As an individual recording artist, Skaggs hit the top of the country charts with “Waitin’ on the Sun to Shine” in 1981. Among his many honors are 1985’s Entertainer of the Year for the Country Music Association.
In 1997, Skaggs established his own label — Skagg Family Records. Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder have “emphasized bluegrass and other forms of roots music.”
In 1999, Skaggs’ all-bluegrass album “Ancient Tones” won the Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. In 2000, he received his eighth Grammy in the Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album category for “Soldier of the Cross” — an all-gospel recording.
In 2003, Skaggs’ first all-live album with Kentucky Thunder, “Live at the Charleston Music Hall,” took the first of their eight IBMA award for Instrumental Group of the Year.
Among his other award winning projects are “Salt of the Earth,” a collaborative gospel album with The Whites; “Brand New Strings”; “Songs from the Neighborhood: the Music of Mister Rogers”; “Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder Instrumentals”; “Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 and 1947”; “Mosaic,” a mixed country music and Beatles-esque melody; and “Music to My Ears,” which features a duet with Barry Gibb.
Skaggs’ appearance is made possible by the sponsorship of Check into Cash.
Over the past year, the 2,000-pound Cashdales have become the beloved face of Check Into Cash, traveling across the country. The Cashdales always draw huge crowds, as children and adults alike seek to photograph or even touch the gentle giants.
While the Cashdales have an extensive touring schedule and recently appeared at the famous Memorial Day Parade in Washington, Check Into Cash founder Allan Jones made sure they were home for this event.
“The Cashdales don’t just come to any event, because we get so many requests,” Jones said. “It has to be special. This is special. The Foothills Country Fair is as big as it gets.”
“All of us at Check Into Cash are thrilled to be a part of this,” said Jones. “This fair will be remembered for years and years, and it’s heart-warming to play a role in that.”
Besides the Cashdales and the legendary Skaggs, the Foothills Country Fair will offer many favorite attractions and events.
From pageants and games to the KCBS Barbecue Contest and demolition derby, everything that Clevelanders love about the fair will be back and better than ever.
This year’s barbecue fest will also be special, as several famous Pitmaster barbecue cookers will be attending.
“I’m so excited about this year’s fair, I can barely go to sleep at night,” said Alford. “We’ve grown the fair substantially over the last 10 years, but this year’s event will remind people why Cleveland is the best place to live in the world, and that it doesn’t get better than the Foothills Country Fair.”
For information on pageants, call Nancy Alford at 339-1989, or call Louie Alford at 284-7738 for information on sponsorships or vendors.