WORTHINGTON - Live music is coming to this year’s Nobles County Fair. Not only that, but a nationally known country artist will be taking the Worthington Arena stage.


Joe Diffie, who has earned 12 No. 1 country hits and more than 20 Top 10 singles in his career, will perform in a show beginning at 7:30 Aug. 10 in the arena. In all, Diffie has released 13 albums and has garnered sales exceeding six million, and has also written songs for other well-known artists such as Tim McGraw, Tracy Lawrence, Conway Twitty, Hank Thompson and Jo Dee Messina (her single “My Give a Damn’s Busted” went No. 1).


Corey Groenwold, president of the Nobles County Fair Association, said Diffie was recruited for the fair as a result of feedback from regular fairgoers.


“The public has been asking for it (live music) ever since the Beach Bash and the Windsurfing Regatta,” Groenwold said. “We heard a lot of backlash, like, ‘if they can do it, why can’t the fair.

“We held the tractor pull for the last eight or nine years and some of the board just felt maybe we should try something new and go in a different direction.” he added. “We didn’t really have any performers in mind  - we had more price in mind -  and we got in contact with Radio Works, and Chad (Cummings) led us to Barry (Roberts).”


Roberts, in turn, led the fair board to Diffie, whose chart-topping hits include “Home,” “Pickup Man,” “Third Rock From the Sun, and “John Deere Green.” He recently co-wrote and released a brand new single, “Girl Ridin’ Shotgun,” in which he returns a “name dropping” favor to fellow country star Jason Aldean, who in 2012 released a song entitled “1994” that pays tribute to Diffie. The “1994” video featured Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, Little Big Town, Jake Owen and others paying homage to Diffie, a performer who influenced them all.


“It was a nice shot in the arm and it’s amazing to me the impact that it’s had,” Diffie states on his website. “A lot of fans are coming to my shows now to see who the dude is that Jason and Thomas are talking about.


“The really amazing thing is the fans know every song that I sing,” he added. “We’ll go to a place and they’ll be a bunch of younger people and they’ll know every single word. Obviously, they’ve gone back and done some research or downloaded something. It’s pretty cool.”


Diffie’s career accolades including winning a Grammy award, CMA awards and being once honored as Humanitarian of the Year by the Country Music Broadcasters. He’s a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and has recently been performing select acoustic concerts with fellow country stars Sammy Kershaw and Aaron Tippin (dubbed the Roots and Boots tour). The three stars have also been in the studio together, and the video for their song “All In the Same Boat” was recently released.


Most recently, Diffie has teamed with producer Phil O’Donnell (a.k.a. “Phillbilly”) to craft “I Got This.” With almost 30 years in the spotlight, Diffie doesn’t plan to call it a career anytime soon.


“I love music; it’s just a part of me,” said Diffie, a father of five children and grandfather of two.. “Retiring would be like cutting off my arm or something. I enjoy everything about it. The travel part gets old once in a while ... but I love the fans. It beats working any day.”


Opening the Nobles County Fair concert for Diffee will be another country music performer, Todd Hurst, who could be a familiar face to residents of Worthington and the region. Hurst opened for Chris Hawkey at the 2017 Beach Bash in Centennial Park. An Indiana native, he recently released his first EP, “Doin’ All The Wrong Things Right.”


“Whether it’s George Strait to Eric Church, Tom Petty to American Aquarium, or everything in between, the stories and the melodies that music were raised on have always been relatable,” Hurst’s website proclaims.


With Hurst’s first single, “Nineteen,” that ability to connect with his audience has always been important to his success.


“Anyone that has ever had a love, or a crush get away from them, can relate to the song,” said Hurst, who now performs more than 60 shows a year, of “Nineteen,” Also on that same EP are similar tunes such as “Catch Up To You,” “Hollywood” and “Blame It On The Whiskey.”


Hurst will perform behind a full band in opening for headliner Diffie,


“Everybody’s pretty excited about this,” Groenwold said of the fair board, “It’s something different - we’ve never had a national recording artist at the Nobles County Fair.”


TIckets for the concert will be available through July 15, and then be sold at the door. They will be sold at Radio Works, Marthaler Automotive locations or at www.noblescountyfair.net.