Early birds find best things come to those who wait

Some concert artists are worth the wait. At least, that’s the belief of State Fair fans willing to spend hours waiting outside the grandstand to get choice standing areas next to the stage.

Rhonda Buckman, 16, and Keisha Custer, 15, of South Heart arrived at 10:40 a.m. Thursday to be among the first through the doors for the Scotty McCreery concert, scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.

“I have seen him on ‘American Idol,’ and ever since then, I just love him,” Buckman said. She said she hadn’t planned on attending the fair this year until she learned McCreery was coming.

Buckman and Custer were killing time outside one of the two grandstand entrances by playing iPad games and eating fair food. Friends were bringing a white board later so they could write messages during the concert to try to get McCreery’s attention.

Larissa Kaiser, 16, of Bismarck had a neon yellow poster ready, displaying photos of herself and McCreery side by side and asking for a real photo of the two together. She wasn’t sure the poster would get her a photo but she hoped it would get the singer’s attention if screaming and exuberance failed.

“I love Scotty McCreery. He’s a great singer and he’s cute,” she said. “The main reason I got tickets was because of him and Tim McGraw.”

Kaiser arrived at the grandstand an hour behind Kira Holdaway, 15, of Minot, who came about 11 a.m. wearing a Scotty McCreery T-shirt. She said she likes “everything” about McCreery, calling him her favorite person.

Coming from a military family, Holdaway attended the McCreery concert Wednesday at Minot Air Force Base, where she had a front-row view.

The five Johnson sisters from Kenmare also wanted to make sure they were as near to McCreery as they could get Thursday. Kathy and Marci, the older of the sisters aged 14 to early 20s, said they aren’t fanatical about McCreery like their two youngest sisters, but they were the ones without other commitments to keep them from spending the day outside the grandstand. They had the luxury of lawn chairs while waiting for their sisters to join them later.

Kathy said she brought her phone to stay entertained during the long wait. Marci said she did that while waiting for hours to get a choice spot at the Tim McGraw concert Friday and ended up with a dead battery that kept her from taking pictures at the concert. Thursday, she brought magazines to stay occupied.

Just watching the crowds go by isn’t a bad way to spend most of a day at the State Fair, according to the die-hard fans determined to see their favorite entertainers up close.

“It’s definitely worth it,” Kaiser said.