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Thousands pack Pa. Fun Fest

August 15, 1999|By DON AINES

ROUZERVILLE, Pa. - After Kristyn, Kelsi and Kassidy Osborn finished their set Sunday at Red Run Park, the trio met with a group of anxious fans beside the stage.

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Lisa Myers of Chambersburg, Pa., came away from her meeting with SHeDAISY with the Osborn sisters' names scrawled across her back. Other fans wanted shirts and hats autographed by the group that sang at Sunday's 19th annual WAYZ 101.5 FM Summer Fun Fest.

The Osborns posed with fans as friends and family snapped away with disposable and point-and-shoot cameras.

Myers paid her dues to meet the sisters in a fenced off area near the stage. One of dozens of volunteers at the concert, she had arrived early to help set up.

"I'm going to be here until the last piece of trash is picked up," she said.

"I'm a fairly recent country convert," Myers said. She began listening to WAYZ four years ago when she was considering advertising on the station. "I fell in love with the music."

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"I'm starting on my second jean jacket of autographs," Craig Stevens of Smithsburg, Md., said as he waited for an autograph later in the day. Hank Williams Jr., Aaron Tippin and Patti Loveless are among those who have signed his clothing.

Country music is almost as much about the loyal fans as the artists. About 10,000 or so showed up to hear SHeDAISY, Lila McCann, Michael Peterson and other acts at the free concert.

John Aguirre of Chambersburg and his daughter Jacinta, 13, were standing halfway down a line of about 150 people at a pavilion waiting for SHeDAISY to sign autographs. An hour later they were still in line, a bit disappointed to learn the group had left.

Now they were waiting to meet Peterson, who was just taking the stage. Luckily, they were in sight of the stage and brought folding chairs to ease their wait in line.

"This is an annual event for us ... a good relaxing day," John Aguirre said.

Sitting in a lawn chair near the stage, Nancy Mozingo of Chambersburg tried to remember how long she had been coming to the Summer Fun Fest. "I've lost track," she said.

A friend told her it was about a dozen years.

WAYZ Operations Manager Dennis Hughes said the Summer Fun Fest began as a small cookout with a local band or two at nearby Penn Mar Park. It was about a dozen years ago the station brought in its first Nashville recording star, Steve Warner.

Hughes said the station tries to outdo the previous year's event. Some acts have gone on to become household names, such as Trisha Yearwood, the headliner several years ago.

A few thousand people set up lawn chairs in front of the stage while several thousand more circled the park sampling funnel cakes and country ham sandwiches, or buying souvenirs and crafts.

Many came to see Reprise Records recording artist Michael Peterson. Sharon Hahn of Thurmont, Md., was in the autograph line as he was singing his hit "Drink, Swear, Cheat and Lie."

She had arrived at the park at 6:30 a.m. hoping to find a good spot near the stage, she said. "Next year I'm going to be earlier because I didn't get as close as I wanted and I'm behind a tree."

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