Fun Fest draws 7,000

August 20, 2000

Fun Fest draws 7,000

By DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photo: DON AINES

Fun FestROUZERVILLE, Pa. - In recent years the WAYZ Summer Fun Fest at Red Run Park has been a venue for artists working their way up the country music ladder of stardom.

Trisha Yearwood, Steve Warner, Lonestar and, last year, SHE Daisy, entertained thousands at the free concert just as they were gaining national recognition. This year the headliner was Toby Keith, who has already topped the country music charts half a dozen times since 1993, including "How Do You Like Me Now?!"

Fame has its privileges, but the cardboard sign on a portable outhouse near his tour bus probably wasn't one of them. The sign announced it was for Keith's use only, although several people were lined up outside its door.


"His band made us do that," said one of the backstage staff at the concert.

"He's just good. Real good," Gloria Lanehart of Hancock, said. She arrived three hours before the concert began at 10 a.m., but was a bit miffed that a small tent had been pitched in front of the area she staked out.

"It's a good community thing," said Lanehart, a veteran of four Fun Fests. Many of 7,000 or more attending from the Tri-State area said the concert had become an annual ritual.

Mendy Obitts, WAYZ's director of promotions said Sunday's lineup was exceptional. "The timing has been really good this year," she said, noting that several of the acts had Top 20 hits on the charts.

She credited Program Director Dennis Hughes. "He really works hard through the year lining up the acts," Obitts said.

Those included Steve Holy, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban and Clay Davidson. Travelin' Jones, a group of local performers, got to open the show.

At the ropeline behind the stage fans were lined up several deep, thrusting programs at Holy and members of Rascal Flatts trio. Megan and Katie Valentine, 14-year-old twins from Hagerstown, Md., were getting autographs on a throw pillow.

Getting there early is becoming a tradition for the Fun Fest for those wanting prime spots for their blankets and lawn chairs in the makeshift amphitheater that appears before the stage each year. "We had a couple of hundred people that spent the night," said WAYZ's General Manager Marge Martin.

They braved temperatures in the low 50s overnight for a good seat. "We left the house at approximately 6 a.m., got here at 7:30 and had to wait in a long line," said April Pennington of Hedgesville, W.Va.

The Fun Fest began 20 years ago with a company picnic and some local bands at Pen Mar Park, according to Martin. She said the event cost about $40,000 to put on this year, much of that defrayed by three major sponsors: Citizens National Bank of Southern Pennsylvania, Zacks convenience stores and Buchanan Auto Park in Rouzerville.

"We've always billed this as a family day," Martin said. "It's our way of thanking our listeners," she said.

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