American Idol alum Josh Gracin headlining 2006 Kitsap County Fair

From American Idol to the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede, country crooner Josh Gracin is headlining this year’s event on Aug. 24.

The Kitsap County Fair Board made the announcement at last Friday’s Dance For a Wish event at the President’s Hall.

In 2003, Gracin was featured on the second season of the hit TV series American Idol and finished in fourth. Gracin released his first self-titled CD in June 2004. It spawned three top-five songs on the country chart, including the No. 1-hit “Nothin’ to Lose.”

“He’s a superstar,” said Frank Abbott, Fair coordinator. “He did very well on American Idol and he’s military and we have a big military presence here.”

Gracin, a former Marine, is scheduled to release his second album in June. Since making the announcement, Abbott says the response has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

“Everyone knew who he was and were real excited,” Abbott said.

When deciding who to book as the headlining act, Fair officials also were considering country singer Tracy Bird, but in the end Gracin was the top pick.

“We’re really looking forward to him,” Abbott said.

Gracin will perform in a 90-minute show which is free to Fairgoers with paid admission for the day.

Also announced on Friday was this year’s Fair theme of “You are the Magic.” In explaining the basis for the theme, John Chittenden — president of the Fair Board and commercial exhibits director — described the customer as being the magic.

“That’s what makes the Fair and the rodeo what they are — the customer,” he said. “It’s like if you have a store and it’s empty, there’s no magic. We picked ‘You are the Magic’ because it’s really customer-oriented and it builds community in Kitsap County.”

As for this year’s Fair, scheduled from Aug. 23-27, “it’s going to be the biggest and the best,” he said.

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