FORT LORAMIE — On a day when most Ohioans rejoiced over the announcement of LeBron James’s return to Cleveland, those in Fort Loramie had another reason: day two of Country Concert ’14.
Friday’s headline performers — Chase Rice, Dustin Lynch, Montgomery Gentry and Brantley Gilbert — took the main stage in front of thousands of fans – several of whom broke out their old LeBron James jerseys. James announced early Friday afternoon his plans to return to his roots in Cleveland, giving the Ohio concert goers even more to be excited about.
Friday’s Saloon Stage kicked off with a USA Karaoke competition at 10 a.m., and professional performers included Blackjack Billy and Clark Manson.
With all of the excitement on the concert grounds, drinks were flowing and ice was selling faster than the workers could keep up.
At one of the beverage tents nearest to the main stage, sales were excellent, employees reported. They were there to make sure the concert goers had a good time and that their favorite drinks were kept cold, they said.
Since coolers are permitted on the concert grounds, bags of ice are also very high in demand throughout the entire three-day event. Edie Bergman has been working at Country Concert for more than 30 years selling ice and said this year has been just as crazy as every other year. “The ice trucks can’t keep up,” she said.
Bergman said the ice station had to refill their coolers four or five times in about three and a half hours and sold approximately 3,200 bags of ice since dinnertime Thursday night.
Also benefitting from the warm weather was Barb Zimmermann, regional manager of Kool Products, who was selling pump bottle misters and other merchandise, including chill sleeves and beer hats.
With the 80-degree, sunny weather that came with the weekend, mister sales have been good, Zimmermann said. With humidity expecting to pick up for Saturday’s concert, she anticipates even better sales. “The sunshine is what helps us,” she said. “The humidity will definitely help us out, too, though.”
John and Glenda Umbaugh, of Sidney, have been attending Country Concert for about 12-15 years, and they said come for the music, the people, the food and the party. The Umbaughs were seated in their stage-front seats, which they had to reserve last October at a cost of about $300 each. What keeps them coming back every year, they said, was without a doubt the entertainment.
Much like the Umbaughs, the music brought first-timer Andrew Johnson to Fort Loramie from Urbana. Johnson had always wanted to go to the concert, but he finally made it in 2014 for the first time. He was looking forward to Tyler Farr and Cole Swindell the most throughout the weekend.
Fellow concert first-timer Cassie Meyers, of Dayton, made it out to Fort Loramie for the first time with her co-worker, Julie Voge, also of Dayton. Voge attended her first Country Concert in 1983 and has been back about five times since. Meyers and Voge were one of Thursday’s first 5,000 people to arrive, earning them Gold Circle seats closest to the stage. To earn those seats, the two had to line up at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Adam Borts, of Iowa, and Matt Long, of Missouri, joined Ohioan Erin Scheper, of Kettering, for the group’s third year at the concert. The three attended three years ago with friends and family from Ohio and just kept coming.
“We got hooked,” Long said. “We’ve been back ever since.”
Borts, Long and Scheper not only return to see their favorite entertainers, but also because of the great friends they have met throughout the years that they return to see each year.
Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart reported a rather inactive Thursday night and Friday afternoon. Four rescue runs were made, eight people were treated with minor injuries and about five people were arrested. The arrests were for trespassing, underage consumption and selling counterfeit Hickory Hills T-shirts, he said.
Lenhart also said for the large number of people at Thursday night’s event, the cars were cleared out just around 10 minutes after the last show, which he considered very helpful for people staying out of trouble.
“For the 20,000 people here each day, they’ve all behaved very well,” Lenhart said.
Saturday, the final day of Country Concert 2014, will feature Sammy Kershaw, Cole Swindell, Neal McCoy, Thomas Rhett, Lee Brice and Luke Bryan. Performing on the Saloon Stage will be Native Run, Chris Lane and Natalie Stovall.