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by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & A & lt;/span & h, those delicious main stage delights. You say the elephant ears are the sweetest thing to be had at the 2006 Spokane Interstate Fair? We heartily disagree. The funnel cake? No! Well, yes, but no! The sweetest things at our belle faire are this triumvirate, this gang of three, playing the grandstand nightly in the heart of next week.

LEE GREENWOOD * Monday, Sept. 11, 6:45 pm

My grandma loves Lee Greenwood. Back before she started forgetting everything and crying all the time, she used to talk at length about her favorite country singers. Hank Williams, George Strait, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn (before she took up with that Jack White) and, surprisingly Lee Greenwood. Surprising, as he's not really that big a star.

Being the wife of a military man, though, in a time before the Wall fell, she was -- and remains -- a sucker for gaudy patriotism. I'm guessing, then (though I'm not sure about this) that she was a casual Greenwood fan until "God Bless the USA" dropped in '84, at which point her fandom became rabid. I have long hoped she stopped short of mailing him her underwear, but, uh, I've hoped that before and seen those hopes dashed.

Spokane County Fair & amp; Expo Center, Broadway Ave. and Havana St. Regular fair admission: $8; $5, children (ages 7-13). Free Greenwood tickets at Jennifer's Greenacres Auto Sales, 17416 E. Sprague (926-5393).

OAK RIDGE BOYS * Tuesday, Sept. 12, 6:45 pm

You're not really a country star until a) you've had one of your songs used by the National Football League-affiliated TV network or b) you've had your songs used in a beer commercial.

That means, though they began as a country-gospel crew in the mid-'40s, they didn't really make it until 1983, when the Miller Brewing Company changed their lyrics to "American Made" changed from "My baby is American made / Born and bred in the USA" to "Miller's made the American way / Born and brewed in the USA." The Boys hated the change, but they were contractually obligated to allow the cred-building bastardization. Record industry tip No. 1: read the fine print.

Regular fair admission applies, but get free tickets at Horizon Furniture Manufacturing, 3808 N. Sullivan Rd. 893-0404.

10,000 MANIACS * Thursday, Sept. 14, 6:45 pm

So if you're of a certain age (and you know you are), and of a certain musical predilection, you and your buddies no doubt had an argument (which happened either 'round the bong or hovering over the coke-lined toilet seat, depending on your socio-economic standing) about 10,000 Maniacs that went something like: "Yeah, they're pretty cool, but they're nothing without Natalie Merchant." To which, inevitably, came the retort: "Yes, huh, they are." Well, Nat left in 1992, and she ain't come back, yet here the band is, touring. So, one way or the other, your argument will be settled this week. Settled once and for all.

Regular fair admission applies, but get free general-admission tickets to hear the Maniacs at Dishman Dodge, 7700 E. Sprague (924-3250).
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