By PATRICK ABDALLA
Daily Record/Sunday News
From left, Leah Bealmear, 9, of Gardners, Molly Devine, 12, of McSherrystown, and Katie Ernst, 11, of Hanover, go nuts as Danielle Bradbery, winner of ‘The Voice,’ takes the stage at the York Fair Saturday. The girls put their blanket down at 10 a.m. to get a spot for the show. (DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - KATE PENN)
York, PA -
Channing and McKenzie Raver finished each other’s sentences when talking about the WGTY Great Country Radio Stage at the York Fair.
"They always bring in great people," McKenzie Raver said.
"For free," added Channing.
The 19-year-old twins were waiting in line to meet country star Dakota Bradley Saturday afternoon, sharing stories about the more than 25 concerts they’ve attended at the stage.
The Radio Stage has offered concerts with country stars throughout the fair for eight years. This year, the lineup got a little younger with stars like the 20-year-old Bradley and 17-year-old Danielle Bradbery, said Rick Kennis, promotions manager for WGTY.
Nabbing Bradbery, who won “The Voice” this year, was a big get for the WGTY.
"It was a total stroke of luck," Kennis said, who was told the York Fair Box Office was flooded with calls when the show was announced. But fans don’t need extra tickets for the WGTY shows.
The fans showed up in full force for Bradbery on Saturday. The crowd spilled over from the seating area, with several fans taking in the concert from the lawn by the Heartstone Reflection Memorial.
"Wow, there are a lot of you guys out there," Bradbery said, after taking the stage.
Two of those guys were 19-year-olds Zach Kenworthy of Hanover and Kollin Ott of Abbottstown.
Kenworthy’s a big fan, following Bradbery from her beginning on “The Voice.”
"I knew from the first time I heard her, she was going to win," he said.
The two didn’t get up close for the free show. But 15 minutes before the concert started, they grabbed a spot in line for the post-concert meet and greet.
It’s one of the draws of the shows on the free stage, fans getting to meet stars like Bradbery and Bradley.
"That’s the great thing about country," Bradley said. "The artists want to meet the fans."
Bradley smiled for every picture and hug. Then he signed everything put in front of him: pictures. T-shirts. Programs. Shoes. York Fair pouches. Backpacks. Brown leather wallets.
The star donned black sunglasses, a black-and-white trucker’s cap and black T-shirt as he stood under the tent next to the Radio Stage for more than an hour greeting fans after his 3 p.m. concert.
"It’s a dream come true to stand out here," Bradley said. "I could do this for hours."
The closeness to the stars is a big draw for fans, but so is the cost — or lacktherof.
Ott and Kenworthy said they might not have attended the show if it wasn’t free.
"It would have depended on the price," Kenworthy said.
Carol Goins drove to the fair from Walkersville, Md., with four others.
The cost was a main reason they attended the concerts.
"We do the CMA Fest every year and it’s a big chuck out of the pocket," she said. "So the free shows are wonderful."
Goins said she attended the fair one other time, but was likely to return for more free shows in the future.
"Now that I found my own way, it will be much easier next year," she said.
For its part, WGTY looks to continue the stage tradition. “We’ll be here again next year,” Kennis said.