Last updated: February 12. 2014 6:30PM -
By Heather Rutz hrutz@civitasmedia.com

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LIMA — What a finale it will be.

Country superstar Toby Keith will play the Allen County Fair on Aug. 23, the fair’s last day, fair General Manager David Grimm announced Wednesday.

Keith has sold more than 38 million copies of his 17 albums, and his current album, “Drinks After Work,” has multiple hits. The show will be part of the “Shut Up & Hold On” tour, presented by Ford F-Series.

Grimm said Keith is the most recognized singer the fair has ever had, and his concert returns the fair to its strong tradition offering top-tier country music. The show will have an opening act, yet to be announced.

Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. March 8 at the Allen County Fairgrounds, by phone at 419-228-7147 or at www.allencofair.com. Tickets are $42 for grandstand and bleachers, $52 for track and $65 for Toby’s Party Zone Pit (standing), which is closest to the stage and features a special runway in front of the stage. About 10,000 tickets will be sold. There is a limit of eight tickets per order and people can buy gate admission tickets, which are necessary to enter the fairgrounds, at the time of purchasing Keith tickets.

Keith fans follow the entertainer, Grimm said, and travel out of state to see his shows.

“This will be a hot show, and we encourage people to buy early, since patrons will be coming from great distances to see this show,” Grimm said.

Keith has had 32 No. 1 singles, including his debut, “Should’ve Been A Cowboy,” which went on to become the most-played country song of the 1990s. Today the singer has branched out into other ventures, including a restaurant chain, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, and a liquor, Wild Shot Mezcal.

The show took several months to book, Grimm said, with lots of back and forth. The fair Board of Directors “went to the mat” to get the show, including committing to the fee required to book Keith and making modifications to the grandstand and track area. The show will include a larger stage than is typically used and an extra “pit” area that Keith likes to reserve for fans close to the stage.

“We started looking at this in November. It was a real challenge,” Grimm said. “The demands on Mr. Keith are enormous; he has lots of different places to play. This is a really neat thing to have him come to Allen County.”

In the past, the fair has hosted a second concert through its run, this year held Aug. 15-23. Grimm said the fair booking a second concert this year has “yet to be determined” by the board.

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