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Country stars to open state fair

Three of the hottest new stars in country music will open the Brad Paisley Grandstand show at 7:30 p.m. on the fair’s opening day, Aug. 23. Recent chart-topper Jack Ingram, "American Idol" season 5 contestant Kellie Pickler and 17-year-old up-and-comer Taylor Swift will join Paisley in kicking off the series.

Tickets are $45 and are available now through Ticketmaster by calling (651) 989-5151, or by visiting Ticketmaster.com or any Midwest Ticketmaster Center. For State Fair Box Office or mail order information, call (651) 288-4427.

The fair runs Aug. 23 though Labor Day, Sept. 3.

Countdown to prom

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Prom may seem far away, but the night of your dreams is closer than you think. This month, you might want to:

• Start thinking about your ideal prom outfit. Girls, is your perfect dress flashy, classic, wild or trendy? Most prom magazines will not hit the shelves until next month, but it’s never too early to dream. (And to start discussing it with your friends to avoid the dreaded duplication of dresses.)

• Consider the cost of prom. The big night is more than the perfect dress and fancy tux. Estimate the cost of shoes, accessories and tickets, and the possible limo, flowers, pictures and post-prom activities. Begin saving now so you can purchase exactly what you want. Or get a part-time job to help cover costs.

• Talk to your friends. The cost of prom can be greatly reduced when a group divides the cost, and friends with older siblings often have an excellent selection of accessories you can borrow, saving more money.

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