Five-day event will benefit L.E.A.D., the statewide drug and alcohol prevention program led by Lake Como resident Nick DeMauro

ALLENTOWN, NJ — Country music artist Jo Dee Messina will headline the marquee concert of the 16th Annual Freedom Fest State Fair, which continues through July 15 at Mercer County Park, West Windsor.

The five-day agricultural fair will benefit L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs), the largest drug and alcohol prevention program in New Jersey that is headed by Nick DeMauro of Lake Como.

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“Our involvement in this event gives local L.E.A.D. chapters and communities the opportunity to promote their programs and raise much-needed funds, while supporting a drug-free lifestyle, agriculture and healthy living,” said DeMauro, executive director and CEO of L.E.A.D., who also is serving as fair manager.

As for two-time Grammy award nominee Messina being the featured artist at its Ladies of Country Concert on Saturday, July 14, DeMauro said,  “We feel blessed to have her as the headliner. Jo Dee Messina is a truly talented artist and a national treasure. Her music and her story are an inspiration to all of us.”

Messina has had nine No. 1 singles on the Billboard country music charts and has sold 5 million albums worldwide. Her best-known singles include her breakout debut song, “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” and others such as “I’m Alright,” “Bye Bye” and “My Give a Damn’s Busted.”

The concert, which begins at 4 p.m. with performances by Jo Smith and Madeline Smith before Messina takes the stage, will be followed by a fireworks display at 10 p.m.

“A ticket to the concert on Saturday night gives you a ticket to the fair and all activities. It’s two great events for the price of one,” DeMauro said.

The five-day event features a host of activities for the entire family, including unlimited carnival rides, games, a magic show, a petting farm, horse and tractor shows, and the ever-popular pig races. In addition, there will be plenty on the menu in the food court at the park’s picnic grounds, including wine samplings from New Jersey wineries.

Entertainment will be on tap each day of the fair, including a professional wrestling show on Friday, July 13, and the Mercer County Rock Legends Fest on Sunday, July 15.

Daily tickets are $17.50 each at the gate or can be purchased on line for $12.50. Tickets for the Ladies of Country Concert, which includes all-day admission to the fair, are $37.50 for reserved seating purchased at the gate or $30 on line. Lawn seats are priced at $17.50 at the gate or $12.50 on line. Admission for children under 36 inches in height is free. To purchase tickets on line, click here.

The fair is open from 5 to 11 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11 and Thursday, July 12, from noon to 11 p.m. on Friday, July 13 and Saturday, July 14, and from noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday, July 15. Mercer County Park is located at 1638 Old Trenton Road in West Windsor.

For more information including the full entertainment schedule, visit the Freedom Fest State Fair website or call 609-259-2500.

About L.E.A.D.

Established in 2014, L.E.A.D. includes the “In the Classroom” and “On the Street” initiatives and provides leadership, resources and management to ensure law enforcement agencies have the means to partner with educators, community leaders, and families by providing proven and effective evidence-based programs to deter youth and adults from drug use, drug related crimes, bullying and violence.

The Allentown-based nonprofit group is committed to “reinforcing the mutual respect, goodwill and relations between law enforcement and their communities. “ L.E.A.D. currently has more than 1,000 officers and teachers who are certified in various aspects of its programs in more than 250 New Jersey communities, including Belmar and Lake Como. For more information, visit its website

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