The Stanislaus County Fair will kick off with a hearty dose of Texas charm as country superstar Clay Walker plays opening night.
Walker’s appearance July 25 at the Budweiser Variety Free Stage begins a 10-day run of big-name entertainers at the fair.
The multiplatinum-selling singer/songwriter from Beaumont, Texas, began his career big in 1993 with back-to-back No. 1 hits, “Live Until I Die” and “What’s It to You.” He has gone on to land six No. 1 hits with 31 charting Billboard country songs. Other smashes include “Dreaming With My Eyes Open,” “If I Could Make a Living,” “This Woman and This Man” and “Rumor Has It.”
The rise from 16-year-old desk clerk at a Super 8 motel to country music hitmaker started thanks to a hometown disc jockey who broke company policy and played his take on the air. After graduating high school, Walker began playing clubs and honky tonks. By age 24, he was signed to Warner Records subsidiary Giant.
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Still, while Walker’s career was flying high, his life hasn’t been without its ups and downs. In 1996, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
“If you’d asked me when I was diagnosed that first day if I would still be alive, I would have said no because that’s what the doctors said,” he says in his official biography. “Here I am, (more than) 10 years later and actually I’m probably healthier than I was 10 years ago.”
Since his diagnosis, Walker has participated in several charities to help fight MS and started his own nonprofit, Band Against MS.
After years of major-label success, Walker switched to the smaller label Curb records last year and released his latest studio effort, “Fall.” The album hit No. 5 on the Billboard charts, and its title song was covered by pop/R&B singer Kimberley Locke, a 2003 “American Idol” contestant.
“The biggest thing that I wanted to do was to just get songs on the radio and make music that people love,” Walker said in his biography. “I wanted to continue the style they’ve known me for and not change things too much because the music we’ve made in the past is good music.”
Shows on the Budweiser Variety Free Stage start at 8:30 p.m. and are included with the price of admission:
July 25: Clay Walker
July 26: Bowling for Soup
July 27: Sawyer Brown
July 28: Building 429 and Matthew West
July 29: Little Big Town
July 30: The Doobie Brothers
July 31: Raven-Symoné
Aug. 1: The Beach Boys
Aug. 2: The Temptations
Aug. 3: Mariachi Vargas
Tickets for events at the FoodMaxx Arena can be purchased at tickets.com outlets or www.tickets.com, by phone at 800-225-2277 or at the fair office, 900 N. Broadway, Turlock:
July 25: Tuff Trucks, 7:30 p.m.; $8 reserved, $6 general adult, $4 age 12 and under
July 26: Truck and tractor pulls, 6:30 p.m.; $10 reserved, $8 general adult, $6 age 12 and under
July 27: Humpz and Hornz Bull Riding, 7 p.m.; $8 reserved, $6 general adult, $4 age 12 and under
July 28: Destruction Derby I — Traditional Turmoil, 7 p.m.; $12 reserved, $10 general adult, $8 age 12 and under
July 29: Destruction Derby II — Metal Mayhem, 7 p.m.; $10 reserved, $8 general adult, $6 age 12 and under
July 30: Quad drags and motorcycle jumpers, 7 p.m.; $8 reserved, $6 general adult, $4 age 12 and under
July 31: Budweiser Clydesdales Arena Show, 6:45 p.m.; free with fair admission
July 31: CCPRA Rodeo, 7 p.m.; free with fair admission
Aug. 1: QuadCross and pee wee bikes, 7:30 p.m.; $8 reserved, $6 general adult, $4 age 12 and under
Aug. 2: Motocross, 7:30 p.m.; $10 reserved, $8 general adult, $6 age 12 and under
Aug. 3: Mud Bog, 7 p.m.; $8 reserved, $6 general adult, $4 age 12 and under