Fair News

Press Archive: 2/26/2013

By Diane Booth Conway, Merced County Fair Marketing Manager

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Rhett Walker Band Opens Merced Fair

Rhett Walker BandThe Rhett Walker Band is a group of talented musicians and songwriters, whose hit “When Mercy Found Me,” has been riding the Christian music charts, and they’re coming to the 2013 Merced County Fair.

The Rhett Walker Band will perform Opening Day, Wednesday, June 12, in the fairgrounds' Outdoor Theatre. The rest of the entertainment line-up for the fair’s run – Wednesday, June 12 through Sunday, June 16 – will be announced soon.

Each night a headline entertainment act will appear at 8:30 p.m. in the Outdoor Theatre, where all concerts are free with admission. The Outdoor Theatre Concert Series is presented by Table Mountain Casino and Budweiser.

The Rhett Walker Band, a Christian alternative/Southern rock group, will perform songs from their debut album, “Come To The River.” Rhett Walker, 25, describes the collection of songs as “wild oats” stories tempered by God’s grace.

Walker, the son of a preacher, is a shining example of faith and family – he’s come a long way from where he was a decade ago. When his family moved from his hometown, the 16-year-old Walker rebelled. “I mixed with the rough crowd, got into fights and drugs. It wasn’t long before I was expelled from school – just always in trouble,” he said. His parents sent him to a Christian school and Walker met a girl. “It wasn’t long after that we found out she was pregnant.”

Instead of continuing his downward spiral, the high school senior stepped up. Walker said to April, who is now his wife, “We’ve done everything wrong that we possibly can. Let’s do everything right from here on out.”

The Walkers were married, he rededicated his life to God and got his high school diploma. The couple welcomed their daughter and became active in the church where Walker began leading worship. As more opportunities opened up for him to lead worship at other churches and college campuses, he was able to stop working at the construction and factory jobs that helped pay the bills, and focus on music and songwriting. The next stop was Nashville, where Rhett Walker Band started work on their first album.

“I’ve loved covering Passion songs as a worship leader, but I feel like some of the crazy things I’ve done and need to sing about don’t always fit that mold,” Walker said. “So I want to write music that isn’t really congregational worship but still inspires a movement that champions what grace really is.”

Like his life, his songs are a gritty, graceful and honest, influenced by Third Day, Black Crowes and Lynyrd Skynyrd. “When Mercy Found Me,” is Walker’s testimony. “That’s the one song on the record that showcases most everything about me.” And referring to the inspiration behind “Come To The River,” he said, “There’s just nothing we can do without grace; we’re all dirty, messed up people, but Christ still loves us. So there are two things we must do. One: rejoice, because now we have a purpose on this earth – to share that grace with others. Two: take up the calling. You can’t just take that love and not tell the story that goes with it.

“I’m someone living my dream through the grace of God,” he said, adding, “I’m blessed with a beautiful wife and two children who have walked with me every step of the way. My faith, my family, and my country are the most important things in my life. “Come to The River” tells all that.”

Admission to the 2013 Merced County Fair will be the same bargain as the 2012 Fair – everybody gets in for $5. That’s half off the 2011 general admission. Kids 5 years and under will continue to get in free. Seniors, 65 years and better, will get free admission on Mercy Medical Center Seniors' Day (opening day), and EECU Kids’ Day will still be offered on Thursday, June 13, when all children 12 years and younger get in free on that day only. Active duty military members in uniform will be admitted at no charge all five days of the fair.

In addition to the $5 general admission, the fair will also offer a “buy 4-get the 5th ticket free” general admission discount ticket package for $20.

For more information call (209) 722-1507, fax (209) 722-3773, or email to Info@MercedCountyFair.com. Visit the Fair’s website, www.MercedCountyFair.com and connect with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

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