HELENA – Every year, the Last Chance Stampede and Fair draws thousands of visitors to the Lewis & Clark Fairgrounds, and this year is shaping up to be no different.
The 57th annual fair kicks off the morning of July 25 and includes four days of entertainment consisting of a rodeo, live music, magic acts and more.
Kevin Tenney, Officer Manager for the fairgrounds, said the planning for the fair began back in the fall of 2017. That’s when the rodeo, parade and entertainment committees come to the table and start deciding on the attractions. This year, organizers have decided to do something brand new.
“Something that we’ve never done before is we’re providing music on our free stage area where we’re going to bring in Kenny Metcalf who is an Elton John impersonator. He’s going to be performing Thursday and Friday night,” Tenney said.
In past years, the Stampede used a tent for the outdoor stage, but organizers said a new mobile stage will allow for better air movement and will be “more appealing to fans.” Organizers have scheduled additional performers to take advantage of the new outdoor stage. The free entertainers will continue to perform in the indoor exhibit hall stage as well.
“It’s a little more detailed stage area that we’ve never really had before. It’s pretty exciting,” Tenney said.
Last year about 45,000 people showed up over the course of the fair, and this year Tenney hopes to see around 50,000.
Some information about this year’s scheduled performers and events:
An Elton John impersonator, magician, comedy juggler, hypnotist, pirate, balloon guy, country band and rock band will provide the oohs, ahhs and laughs at this year’s Stampede.
Headlining the list is Kenny Metcalf, impersonating Elton John in his early years. Metcalf and The Early Years Band perform Elton’s hits, while Metcalf wears the iconic costumes specially recreated, down to the rhinestones and sequins.
Stampede fans will enjoy the magic of Louie Foxx, the One Man Side Show. He’s the kid who never grew up, and he’s living his childhood dream of becoming a magician.
Foxx pairs magic with comedy, employing hand shadowing, cowboy tricks, and more! He is a two-time Guinness World Record Holder and has been on NBC’s America’s Got Talent.
Comedy juggler Jeremiah Johnston holds two medals in the world championships of juggling and will also hold the attention of Stampede-goers in Helena. Johnston bills his show as The Throw Zone while he juggles unforgiving machetes, precariously balances boards, and does crystal ball illusions, all to the delight of Stampede fans.
Cap’n Arr, the funniest pirate to never sail the seas, will battle sea creatures and juggle oversized cannon balls (black balloons full of water) as he selects his first mate from the crowd!
JayDee Hypnotist performs his clean, classy and funny hypnosis shows for children and adults of all ages. A certified hypnotherapist, JayDee’s hypnosis makes people believe they’re celebrities or the Easter bunny, as they hop around the stage!
As icing on the cake, Steve the Balloon Guy will stroll through the grounds, creating clever and fun balloon characters for the young and the young-at-heart.
The band SunsAh406 will entertain on the outdoor stage from 8-10 pm on Friday, July 27. The band Metal Steel will perform on the outdoor stage from 8-10 pm on Saturday, July 28.
The Last Chance Stampede and Fair runs July 25-28, and includes a Dustin Lynch concert on July 25 at 7:30 pm. Three nights of rodeo are the evening entertainment July 26-28 at 7:30 pm each night. Tickets are available online at LastChanceStampede.com, at the fairgrounds, and at the gate.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the fairground’s website at www.LastChanceStampede.com or call 406.457.8516