One of the great things about the Delaware State Fair is its tradition of booking A-list musical acts. This year proved no different, taking a decidedly country approach and offering up Jason Aldean, Sugarland and country’s reigning queen, Miranda Lambert.
As a closet country fan, I recently turned my better half on to Miranda’s music, particularly her collaboration with the Pistol Annies. Whether my husband truly enjoys their music or simply appreciates their smoldering good looks, he was nonetheless eager to hear them live. So last Saturday night, the Schiller Summer Concert Series headed to Harrington to catch Miranda Lambert and the Pistol Annies.
(Author’s note: It’s un-American to head to the Fair for a concert and not take in the whole experience. We toured the petting zoo; admired the prize-winning horses, pigs and sheep; and sampled the midway fare.)
With hush puppies in hand, and ignoring my husband’s repeated suggestion that we try the deep-fried Oreos for “journalism’s sake,” we headed in to the show.
Very much looking forward to an icy cold, I made a beeline for the beer garden, only to do a double-take when I learned that all alcoholic beverages must be consumed in the garden…which closes 15 minutes after the show starts.
Let me get this straight: Cold beer and country music go together like ham and cheese, beans and franks, George and Tammy… (that’s a country royalty reference for all of you following along at home). I watched in amazement as concert-goers made their way to their seats, loaded down with every fried food one can imagine (paging Mayor Bloomberg), grasping flash cameras (typically prohibited at concerts) and lighting up cigarettes (in a PUBLIC place?!). We’ll just chalk this up to the Fair’s adherence to the regulations established at its inception in 1920…
At the stroke of 7:30, Miranda took the stage. (A concert that starts on time? And no opening act? Excellent!) For the next hour plus, she put on a great show, playing up to the crowd and keeping it fairly G-rated for the multitude of kids and pre-teens in the audience.
She brought her Pistol Annies on stage, much to our delight. Several songs in, they paid homage to country great Loretta Lynn, whose legacy is apparently lost on today’s country youth, judging from the crowd’s blank faces and renewed focus on their iPhones.
As Miranda wrapped, the clouds rolled in. We were going to have some “weather,” as my grandfather used to say. Lightning flashed across the sky as the State Fair folks scurried to set off the fireworks, a tradition that follows the final concert and marks the end of the Fair.
The skies opened up as we dashed to our cars; me, wishing I had followed my mother’s advice to avoid flip-flops; and my husband, bemoaning the lines of traffic leaving the Fair. But there’s something fitting and timeless about a night at the Fair, capped off with fireworks and a rainstorm, stirring up dust and leaving the lights of the midway behind.