The 68th annual Dubuque County Fair opens Tuesday. Since it began in 1954, scores of musicians have performed on the fair stage. Dozens have appeared more than once.

Here are some of the headliners who made return trips.

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Published Aug. 16, 1979: By 8 p.m., the Dubuque County Fairgrounds arena was filled comfortably with about 2,000 people laughing, stomping and cheering their way through the hour's first string of song and dance acts. Sixty minutes later, more than 4,000 fans welcomed country-rock singer Billy "Crash" Craddock to his fourth consecutive fair performance. "A lot of performers, they don't like to come on before me, and they sure don't want to follow me.," Craddock said. "They know after my act, the next one's going to just naturally be a little lower level with the audience. They won't admit it. but I'm a hard act to follow."

Billy “Crash” Craddock

1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1983

“A lot of performers, they don’t like to come on before me, and they sure don’t want to follow me. They know after my act, the next one’s going to just naturally be a little lower level with the audience.” — TH, Aug. 17, 1979

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Published Aug. 15, 1993: The Statler Brothers perform at the 40th annual Dubuque County Fair.

Statler Brothers

1974, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993

“Protected by umbrellas. trash can liners, coats and bright plastic slickers, hundreds of fans braved rain and lightning to hear the harmonizing country sounds of the Statler Brothers. The knee-bending rhythms provided by the Statlers ‘is the kind of music we old buzzards can get into,’ said Bob Hammer, who came to Saturday’s concert with his wife, Kay. ‘We‘ve been listening to the Statlers since we were in our teens,’ said Kay.” — TH, Aug. 15, 1993

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Published Aug. 11, 1985: Singing artist Charley Pride spent much of Saturday afternoon at the Dubuque Golf and Country Club before his evening performance at the Dubuque County Fairgrounds. Pride, 47, of suburban Dallas, is shown here with caddy Jon Frommelt, 14, of Dubuque.

Charley Pride

1980, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1989

“‘When all the hoo-rah is over and I get airplay, I’ll still be here when all the others have faded.’ he says. ‘My voice fits in the ’80s, ’90s and 2000s.’” — TH, Aug. 11, 1985

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Published Aug. 7, 1986: Louise Mandrell performs during her Wednesday night show at the Dubuque County Fair.

Louise Mandrell

1980, 1982, 1986

“‘I kind of like it,’ the 32-year-old country-music star said about the laryngitis. ‘It makes me sound sexier.’” — TH, Aug. 7, 1986

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Published Aug. 20, 1978: Nadine Adams says her biggest dreams always have been to attend college and to meet country singer-racer Marty Robbins. She proved last year she "could hack it" as a beginning psychology major at the University of Dubuque and Friday night proved the climax of more than a year's worth of successful lobbying — she was wrapped in Marty Robbins' arms before any of his other 6,000 fans there even got to see him. The Dubuque County Fair Board's Rudy Mullinnix recalled that Nadine asked last year that Robbins perform at the next fair. “It was hard for her to talk," he said, “but she really laid it out." Had Nadine's summer brain pacemaker operation in New York been successful, she would have been able to carry on quite a conversation with her favorite "superstar." But, the 20-year-old victim of cerebral palsy was just glad to be there, and on her own two feet. "All right!" the two exclaimed for cameras snapping around them.

Marty Robbins

1978, 1980, 1981

“… despite booking agent Fred Fenchel’s fretting phone calls around the country, Robbins would arrive in plenty of time on his own, in a bus labeled, ‘Nobody you’ve heard of.’” — TH, Aug. 20, 1978

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Published Aug. 6, 1986: Bobby Randall, Mark Miller and Jim Scholten, of the band Sawyer Brown, perform for a rain-soaked, yet enthusiastic crowd at the Dubuque County Fair.

Sawyer Brown

1986, 1996, 2004

“‘We’re not going to let this rain on our parade,’ vowed lead singer Mark Miller to the cheers of about 150 drenched fans who paid $4 for reserved seats near the stage, but outside the cover of the grandstand.” — TH, Aug. 6, 1986

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Published Aug. 9, 1989: Vocalist/guitarist Donnie Van Zant, of the musical group 38 Special, entertains the crowd in the early moments of a concert at the Dubuque County Fair. The group helped draw an opening day record crowd of 8,969 people.

38 Special

1989, 2014

“Songs like ‘Wild Eyed Southern Boys,’ ‘So Caught Up in You’ and ‘Hold on Loosely’ seemed to attract more active participation from the crowd than the newer tunes.” — TH, Aug. 9, 1989

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Published Aug. 24, 1959: The shoes come off when Anita Bryant sings, "It's funny, but I sing better when I take my shoes off," the former Miss Oklahoma explains. The 19-year-old beauty, who starred in the closing stage show of the Dubuque County Fair, currently has the 14th most popular record in the country -- "Till There Was You," from the all-about-Iowa musical, "The Music Man."

Anita Bryant

1959, 1968

“The shoes come off when Anita Bryant sings. ‘It’s funny, but I sing better when I take my shoes off,’ the former Miss Oklahoma explains.” — TH, Aug. 24, 1959

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Published July 30, 2011: Buckcherry performs at the Dubuque County Fair.

Buckcherry

2007, 2011

“Within minutes of taking the stage, heavily inked Buckcherry lead singer Josh Todd had removed his overcoat and vest to reveal a canvas of tattoos across his arms and torso.” — TH, July 31, 2011

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Published Aug. 8, 1984: Charlie Daniels plays at the Dubuque County Fair.

Charlie Daniels Band

1984, 1986

“(Daniels) also won over the audience by dedicating the unabashedly patriotic ‘In America’ to the Russian Olympic Committee.” — TH, Aug. 8, 1984

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Published Aug. 7, 1991: Robin Zander, lead singer for Cheap Trick, performs before a crowd of about 11,000 people at the opening night of the Dubuque County Fair.

Cheap Trick

1991, 2011

“Throughout the show, (Rick) Nielsen, who used to look like somebody’s weird older brother, and now could pass for anyone’s strangest uncle, switched guitars about seven times.” — TH, Aug. 7, 1991

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Published Aug. 12, 1990: He was pickin‘. And he was grlnnln'. Roy Clark won the approval of his fans at the Dubuque County Fair during his opening number, "Rocky Top."

Roy Clark

1990, 1992

“(Clark’s) entire performance was injected with a liberal supply of his trademark — razzle-dazzle guitar pickin’. His instrumentals included an electric 12-string rendition of the classic waltz, ‘Somewhere My Love,’ and a Russian folk tune, ‘Moscow Nights.’” — TH, Aug. 12, 1990

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Published Aug. 20, 1972: It was, of course, hot. The children's dance troupe had long since finished tapping to its tunes, and a Senior Citizens Day crowd of 400 was enduring a sing-a-long in the Dubuque County Fair's teen tent. Pudgy Frank Fontaine left his car, stalked along the crowd‘s left flank, mounted the stage and turned into Crazy Googenheim, the beloved Jacky Gleason Show character. The tails of his orange shirt draped over baggy tan shorts, and his odd hat — a trademark — sat atop his head. A few one-liners, some kidding about friendly lushes, and the line he made famous: “I was just hangin' around, I wasn’t doin’ nuttin’." Then the voice deepened, the pace quickened and "Heart of My Heart" filled the tent.

Frank Fontaine

1971, 1972

“Pudgy Frank Fontaine left his car, stalked along the crowd’s left flank, mounted the stage and turned into Crazy Googenheim, the beloved Jacky Gleason Show character. The tails of his orange shirt draped over baggy tan shorts, and his odd hat — a trademark — sat atop his head.” — TH, Aug. 20, 1972

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Published Aug. 12, 1984: Crystal Gayle plays to a crowd estimated at almost 10,000 at the Dubuque County Fair.

Crystal Gayle

1976, 1984

“She has the longest, most beautiful hair in popular music, and the prettiest brown eyes in country — except during one song during every concert when they turn blue.” — TH, Aug. 12, 1984

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Published Aug. 10, 1989: Dean Torrence of the group Jan and Dean recruits a new lead guitarist during a concert at the Dubuque County Fair. Heather Dolphin, 9, of Dubuque, rocked through the song, "Do You Wanna Dance."

Jan and Dean

1989, 1991

“When Torrence invited the audience to join the ‘Jan and Dean dance party’ during ‘Do You Wanna Dance,’ several people jumped on stage to dance, and Torrence offered his guitar to 9-year-old Heather Dolphin of Dubuque.” — TH, Aug. 10, 1989

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Published Aug. 16, 1982: Loretta Lynn performs at the Dubuque County Fair on Aug. 14, 1982.

Loretta Lynn

1976, 1982

“Lynn’s had more hits, in fact, than there are moonshiners in the Kentucky hills. She sang a mess of ’em for the fair audience, including ‘Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’ With Lovin’ on Your Mind,’ ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough’ and ‘Love’s the Foundation.’” — TH, Aug. 16, 1982

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Published Aug. 12, 1989: Oak Ridge Boys member Joe Bonsall (left) sings a song as fellow member Duane Allen accompanies him during their performance at the Dubuque County Fair.

Oak Ridge Boys

1989, 1997

“They boast four singers who take turns at lead vocals with each one putting on a show of his own. They combine on harmonies that slice right through a cool summer night.” — TH, Aug. 12, 1989

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Published July 27, 2001: Bret Michels (from left), C.C. DeVille and Bobby Dall, of the band Poison, perform at the Dubuque County Fair.

Poison

2001, 2003

“Fans at the sold-out show came from across Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin to see the band, which was dubbed, ‘the greatest hair band of all time’ by music TV channel VH-1.” — TH, July 27, 2001

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Unpublished: Lead singer Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon plays to a packed grandstand during the opening show at the Dubuque County Fair. Photo taken Aug. 11, 1992.

REO Speedwagon

1990, 1992

“’Kids come out to see us and we play as hard if there was a crowd of 20 or if there was a crowd of 20,000,’ said bassist Bruce Hall in an interview before the show.” — TH, Aug. 12, 1992

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Published Aug. 12, 1984: Country and western star Mel Tillis entertains at the Dubuque County Fair.

Mel Tillis

1981, 1984

“The now-famous stutter stops as the singing begins, a phenomenon he attributes to the beat, the rhythm and the identity of becoming Mel Tillis the Singer once he steps in front of the microphone to belt out a song.” — TH, Aug. 12, 1984

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Unpublished: T. Graham Brown sings a duet with Tanya Tucker at the Dubuque County Fair. Brown, who opened for Tucker, made a surprising return dressed in a baseball jersey. Photo taken Aug. 10, 1991.

Tanya Tucker

1991, 1994

“The 31-year-old Tucker dazzled the masses at the fair with several of the hits that made her famous, including ‘Delta Dawn.’ She also charmed many others by performing while several months pregnant with her second child.” — TH, Aug. 11, 1991

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Published Aug. 23, 1976: Conway Twitty crooned, rocked and sang a lullaby to all the anxious women waiting to give him a kiss after his performance at the Dubuque County Fair. In between, the Mississippi-born country and western singer filled autograph requests by the hundreds and posed for an occasional photograph with a fan. Before becoming a country singer in 1965, Twitty was a rock musician for 10 years. occasionally playing Dubuque's old Melody Mill in the late '50s and early '60s.

Conway Twitty

1976, 1991

“Conway Twitty crooned, rocked and sang a lullaby to all the anxious women waiting to give him a kiss after his Saturday night performance at the Dubuque County Fair.” — TH, Aug. 23, 1976

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Published Aug. 18, 1976: Country and western star Dottie West relaxes before her performance at the Dubuque County Fair. "As far as my own career is concerned, I'm living my dreams," West said in an interview in her tour bus, “The Sunshine Express." Those dreams are reflected in her positive view of life, a view that is heard in her trademark song, "Country Sunshine," which first gained popularity as a commercial for Coca-Cola.

Dottie West

1976, 1981

“‘As far as my own career is concerned, I’m living my dreams,’ West said in an interview in her tour bus, ‘The Sunshine Express.’ Those dreams are reflected in her positive view of life, a view that is heard in her trademark song, ‘Country Sunshine,’ which first gained popularity as a commercial.” — TH, Aug. 18, 1976

TH archives, Dubuque County Fair.

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