Talk about your auspicious beginnings.

Kady Porterfield kicked off her new gig as the director of the Kittitas Valley Event Center with dramatic flare. The first concert she ever went to as a 9-year-old was country star Tracy Lawrence. Fast forward that a little bit to today. So who’s the first musical act she ever booked on her own? Yep, you guessed it — Tracy Lawrence.

Lawrence will make his Ellensburg debut on the Fourth of July as the featured entertainer for Patriot Night Under the Lights at the Kittitas Valley Event Center. The night will include food, beer gardens, fireworks, big time country music, and a Corona After Party in Behind the Chutes party with Johnny Cash and June Carter tribute band, Folsom Prism from the Bellevue area.

It’s a big undertaking right out of the chute, but the Kittitas Valley Event Center staff hit the ground running and America’s birthday promises to be a night to remember said Porterfield, who is a former agriculture department manager with the Central Washington Fair Association.

“It’s funny how it worked out with Tracy Lawrence being the first show I ever saw and the first show I’ve ever booked on my own,” Porterfield said. “There’s been a lot of moving parts putting it all together, a lot of tiny details, but it’s going to be a good show and a great night.”

Lawrence is an established country music singer, songwriter, and producer who was born in Texas and raised in Arkansas. He began his career in Nashville in 1991, signing with Atlantic Records Nashville. He’s charted more than 40 singles and released 14 studio albums. Lawrence found his biggest success in 1993 with a release called “Alibis” and then again with “Time Marches On” in 1996.

He won Top New Male Vocalist from Billboard in 1992 and from Academy of Country Music in 1993, and Vocal Event of the Year from the Country Music Association in 2007.

“I have some connections, so it was nice to hear he was available. He really likes the audience participation and should only be a few feet from the audience with the way the stage will be set up,” Porterfield said. “He’s never been to Ellensburg before or even to the area, so this will be something new for him and we’re really excited about that.”

Doors open at 7 p.m. with food vendors and beer gardens available. Concert presented by Mike’s Hard and White Claw starts at 8:30 p.m. with fireworks beginning promptly after. The first Patriot Night Under the Lights at the Kittitas Valley Event Center will dance into the night with the Corona After Party in Behind the Chutes party.

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