CHILLICOTHE - The fair board took a gamble that appeared to pay off.
Thursday night's concert at the Ross County Fair was something the fair board had never tried before. With the help of Ohio Christian University, it brought two contemporary Christian bands, OCU's Ablaze and headliner Tenth Avenue North, to the grandstand.
The grandstand was packed with more than 500 people of all ages cheering, clapping and even at times dancing along to the music. The high-energy lead singer of Tenth Avenue North ran up and down into the crowds, jumping and dancing along with them. The longer the show went on, the more people in the crowd joined in. Even on a sticky, hot summer night, his infectious spirit convinced hundreds of people to put their arms around each other's shoulders and sway along to the music.
“We aren’t here to play at you, we’re here to celebrate with you,” Mike Donehey, lead singer of Tenth Avenue North, told the audience.
While the band played, hands were raised in postures of worship and thanks to a screen behind the band that projected lyrics so even those not familiar with the tune could sing along.
Brittany Knox, a 22-year-old youth leader at High Street Church of Christ, brought members of her junior high youth group to the concert. But they weren’t surprised at how much they enjoyed the show.
Thursday night was the group’s third time seeing Tenth Avenue North. Knox said the group is one of her favorite bands and is fun to watch while staying down to earth. However, she said their Ross County Fair show has been her favorite so far.
“I like this time better because they were more personable. He could get closer,” Knox said.
As people walked out of the concert, a few said they would enjoy seeing more such shows at the fair. Some people said they were encouraged to see some youth in the audience.
Alan Grigsby said this was his first concert at the Ross County Fair, and the style of music was specifically what attracted him to buy his first ticket. Christian music, he said, is something he listens to regularly, including Tenth Avenue North.
Faith Richardson visited the Ross County Fair from her home in Dayton to watch Tenth Avenue North play. She said the group is a band people want to see repeatedly.
Knox said she hopes the fair continues to host groups such as Tenth Avenue North and OCU’s Ablaze in years to come.
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