Grab a deep-fried Twinkie and get ready to enjoy the tunes.

The Alameda County Fair is back, which means plenty of sugary treats and nightly concerts are on the docket.

This year's musical lineup is one of the best in memory -- featuring such well-known acts as Tesla, ConFunkShun, Night Ranger, Ashanti and Eddie Money. As usual, the offerings are quite diverse, ranging from reggae and rock to blues and beyond.

The concerts are free with regular admission to the fair, which runs through July 6 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. The shows are general admission, technically speaking, but the fair is now offering "best seats" wristbands for those who show up early. For details about the "best seats" program, as well as other information, go to www.alamedacountyfair.com.

Here's a breakdown of the lineup:

  • Eddie Money (June 19): Catch the man responsible for such hits as "Two Tickets to Paradise," "Think I'm in Love," "Take Me Home Tonight" and "I Wanna Go Back." (Money also plays Aug. 15 as part of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk concert series; see details on that below.)

  • Shaggy (June 20): The reggae-fusion artist became a huge star with his third studio effort, 1995's "Boombastic," which produced several singles and won the Grammy for best reggae album. His best-known numbers include "Boombastic," "It Wasn't Me," "Angel" and "In the Summertime."

  • Creedence Clearwater Revisited (June 21): The group features two former Creedence Clearwater Revival members (drummer Doug Clifford and bassist Stu Cook) and performs all the classic CCR material.

  • La Unica Sonora Santanera y Selena Tribute featuring Irene Davi (June 22): It's a doubleheader, featuring renowned Latin-tropical orchestra La Unica Sonora Santanera and a tribute to "The Queen of Tejano Music" Selena.

  • Evolution (June 24): Prep for Journey's two big Bay Area shows (July 26 at Shoreline Amphitheatre and July 29 at Concord Pavilion) by catching this popular Journey tribute band. Expect the crowd to sing along at top volume when Evolution covers such hits as "Wheel in the Sky," "Lights" and, of course, "Don't Stop Believin. ' "

  • ConFunkShun (June 25): The pride of Vallejo returns to the East Bay for a night of R&B, soul and funk. The band was a major force on the charts in the '70s and '80s, thanks to such hits as "Shake and Dance With Me," "So Easy," "(Let Me Put) Love on Your Mind" and "Chase Me."

  • Coco Jones (June 26): The 16-year-old South Carolina native came to fame in the Disney Channel film "Let It Shine." She released her major label debut, "Made Of," in 2013.

  • Paul Rodriguez (June 27): The incredibly accomplished comedian has worked on such films as "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," "Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles" and "Born in East L.A."

  • JT Hodges (June 28): He's one of country music's rising stars, having scored three hit singles off his eponymous studio debut of 2012. The Texas singer also has toured with Toby Keith.

  • Tesla (June 29): Simply put, Sacramento's Tesla is one of the best hard-rock outfits to ever come out of Northern California. It should be a treat to see Tesla -- a band that once rocked major amphitheaters -- perform at this comparatively intimate setting.

  • True 2 Crue (July 1): This Mötley Crüe tribute act will perform such pop-metal favorites as "Girls, Girls, Girls" and "Kickstart My Heart."

  • Ashanti (July 2): The R&B star's career took off like a rocket, with her eponymous debut of 2002 selling more than 3 million copies in the U.S. alone. She quickly followed with two more platinum-plus-selling records, 2003's "Chapter II" and 2004's "Concrete Rose."

  • America (July 3): In the mood for some solid soft rock? This band defined the genre in the '70s with such nuggets as "A Horse with No Name," "Sister Golden Hair" and "Ventura Highway."

  • Red, White & Blues Festival (July 4): Independence Day is a great time to salute the blues, America's greatest gift to the arts world. This annual all-day festival, organized by Ronnie Stewart and his Bay Area Blues Society, always features a tremendous lineup of local blues talent.

  • Building 429 (July 5): This North Carolina Christian rock act won the Gospel Music Association Dove Award for new artist in 2005.

  • Night Ranger (July 6): The fair closes on a classic rock note, with the Bay Area act that gave the world "(You Can Still) Rock in America," "Sister Christian" and other hits. Night Ranger is well past its commercial prime, but it still delivers -- big time -- on the live stage.

    BEACH BOARDWALK: Also make sure to check out the Free Friday Night Bands on the Beach series at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The concerts are held at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Fridays through Aug. 29. The entire schedule is at www.beachboardwalk.com. Here are a few of the bigger names in the series:

  • Macy Gray (July 11): The R&B vocalist's 1999 debut, "On How Life Is," sold more than 6 million copies worldwide.

  • Y&T (Aug. 1): The band ranks among the Bay Area's all-time best hard-rock outfits.

  • Starship starring Mickey Thomas (Aug. 8): This version of the revolving Jefferson Airplane/Starship cast gave us such hits as "We Built this City," "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" and "Sara."

    Follow Jim Harrington at Twitter.com/jimthecritic and Facebook.com/jim.bayareanews.

    Alameda County Fair concerts
    When: The fair runs through July 6. All concerts begin at 8 p.m., except for the all-day Red, White and Blues festival, which runs 1-9 p.m. July 4.
    Where: Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Ave., Pleasanton
    Tickets: Concerts are included in regular fair admission -- $10 adults (ages 13-61), $8 seniors (those 62 and older) and kids (ages 6-12). Children (those 5 and younger) get in free.
    Information:
    925-426-7600,
    www.alamedacountyfair.com