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Parmalee will rock the county fair with their rambunctious spirit
COUNTY FAIR HEADLIN-ERS PARMALEE will bring a high-energy country rock show to their grandstand performance at the fairgrounds in Gays Mills on Friday, August 24. This band that has its roots in a small town in North Carolina should feel right at home at the Crawford County Fair.

GAYS MILLS - The band Parmalee will provide the headline entertainment on Friday, August 24 at the Crawford County Fair. Smoking Gun Showdown will provide the opening act. The concert starts at 7 p.m., and takes place in the grandstand at the Crawford County Fairgrounds in Gays Mills.

Advance ticket sales will be available until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, August 22 at the Crawford County UW-Extension office starting Monday, Aug. 13. Advance tickets will also be available at the Crawford County Fair Office on August 21 and 22.

An advance season gate pass for all four days will cost $20; the Friday Special Combined Gate and Grandstand Pass will cost $20; and Friday Gate and Grandstand plus admission all four days pass is $35.

Comprised of brothers Matt and Scott Thomas (lead vocals and drums), cousin Barry Knox (bass) and their best friend Josh McSwain (lead guitar), Parmalee are the quintessential American country band. Named after the small town where the band started, Parmele, N.C. (population 278), the chart-topping quartet pays tribute their humble Carolina upbringings with their name and their sound.

Raised on a diet of Southern rock, vountry, and blues, they formed in 2001 as a bunch of small-town boys chasing wild weekend nights, but their talents eventually took them beyond the little cement block barn they rehearsed in and onto country music’s biggest stages, not to mention the top of Billboard’s Country chart.

The band’s blue-collar persistence made their 2013 breakout single, ‘Carolina,’ into a Platinum-certified #1 hit, while their debut album landed in the Top 10. Two more singles (‘Close Your Eyes’ and ‘Already Callin’ You Mine’) rose to #3 and #10 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, all while they kept their noses to the grindstone, touring hundreds of dates a year. Awards nominations from the Academy of Country Music and Teen Choice Awards came rolling in, and headlining tours were launched, but the hard-working virtues of their upbringing stand tall.

The work continued with the release of their most recent album, 27861 in July of 2017. Both singles from the project, ‘Roots’ and ‘Sunday Morning’ enjoyed chart time on Billboard’s Top 40 Country Airplay Chart and have seen more than 30 million combined streams on Spotify.

Now, more than ever, Parmalee exudes the rambunctious spirit that built the foundation of their music. The band brings that same fire with them on stage every night, delivering high-energy shows to enthusiastic fans clapping and singing along, wrapped up in rafter-shaking abandon. Eyeing the crowds’ response, one thing is very clear—Parmalee knows a thing or two about having a good time.

Bottling up that vitality and fun for the summer, the band has packed ‘a sixer’ of some of their most rebel-rousing, party-starting, tracks for their Party Pack. Available digitally (aptly on 4/20), the compilation features two new tracks (‘Last Night’ and ‘These Are The Good Days’) that showcase the band’s signature country-rock sound, defined by blazing guitars and soaring harmonies, live drums and a locked-in musical brotherhood. Each song in the pack was co-written by lead singer, Matt Thomas and pushes forward to the edges of modern country, bringing in expertly-programmed beats, irresistible pop melodies, and vocal hooks built to grab attention from fans of any genre.

Each of the blood-pumping, high-tempo tracks delivers a rocking good party, but with none of the hangover. The ‘Party Pack’ takes listeners on a wild rollercoaster of a journey through a weekend complete with epic parties, morning mimosas, day drinkin’ and solving those morning-after mysteries like how a car ended up in the pool.

“We love bringing people together for a good time and we hope they’ll clap, sing along, and raise one up— that’s what this Party Pack is all about,” Matt says with a grin.

The first top popped in the pack is the bands latest single, ‘Hotdamalama,’ which first appeared on 27861. The track, which Taste of Country says is “built to be the song of the summer,” marks the band’s seventh single, with the previous six all reaching Top 40 in country radio. The summer-ready scorcher is a fast-paced flirty tribute to a woman so stunning they’ve had to make up new terms for it.

The band is no stranger to a little creative wording. After decades of friendship and endless days spent on a bus together, the four guys nearly have a language of their own. They’ve even begun sharing some of their original vocabulary with fans through a hilarious video series called ‘Parmalisms,’ which shows off their fun-loving nature and routinely leaves their 580,000-plus fans in stitches.

“Seeing people smile, laugh and enjoy themselves because of something you’ve done is a great feeling,” said Barry, as Scott added, “Sharing that joy and making people have fun makes all those rougher days worth it.”

The road to success wasn’t all flowers for the band, they have come a long way since their modest beginnings, working odd jobs like logging forests, construction, and any other type of manual labor to make ends meet. They’ve also had a few setbacks— in 2010, two men attempted to rob the band at gunpoint after a show, which led to Scott being hospitalized for 35 days, 10 of which he spent in a coma, for multiple gunshot wounds. Despite a five percent chance of survival, he miraculously pulled through and the band went on to secure a record deal just four months later.

No matter the obstacle, the foursome never waivered. Their tenacious work ethic, small-town values and love for each other has allowed them to persevere, grow stronger and rise to where they are today. At heart, they’re still the fun-loving Carolina boys with the same adventurous spirit they left home with on the road to Nashville and beyond.

General Fair info

The Midway, provided as last year by Earl’s Rides, will operate Thursday through Sunday, from 12:30 p.m. until close. All rides are only one ticket per ride, and advance ticket sales will be 10 tickets for $20. Single tickets during the fair will be $3.50 each. There will be discounted wristband ticket specials on Thursday and Sunday, and $20 each wristband specials on Friday (3 to 7 p.m.) and Saturday (1 to 5 p.m.).

The grandstand and midway aren’t the only places to have fun at the Crawford County Fair. The hard work of many youth leadership groups such as 4-H and FFA will be on display in the different buildings throughout the grounds.

On Thursday, August 23, at 6 p.m., the Crawford County Land Conservation Awards will take place, as well as the much-loved grilled cheese contest. At 7 p.m., there will be a Tractor & Truck Pull Show put on by Southwest Pullers, which will feature over 10 classes of trucks and tractors.

On Saturday, August 26, the day kicks off with the Crawford County Fair 5K Walk/Run sponsored by the Nifty Neighbors 4-H Club. Registration will take place from 7:30-8:15 a.m. Families can register for $10 for the first two participants, and $5 apiece after that ($7 the day of). Awards will be given to the top male and female finishers, and the top three in each age group. Registrations can be mailed to Martha Bransky, 51560 Johnstown Road, Soldiers Grove, WI 54655. At noon, there will be an Antique Tractor Pull featuring area antique tractors. At 7 p.m., the Demolition Derby will take place, featuring cars destroying cars-smashing, crunching and destruction.

The county fair will wrap up on Sunday, August 26 with a family-friendly selection of events. There will also be discounted wristband ticket specials. The Ranch Rodeo will kick off at 11 a.m. on Sunday, featuring Ridge & Valley Rodeo Club horse riders, barrel racers and ropers. At noon, the Talent Show with Music by Class of ’62 featuring ‘The Surf Boys’ will also feature a Crawford County Fair 160th Anniversary Celebration.