Hayes to play at fair tonight

Published 10:28 am Friday, August 10, 2012

COURTLAND—Casie Pulley on Thursday night picked spots for tonight’s Hunter Hayes concert at the Franklin-Southampton County Fair.

Country music singer-songwriter Hunter Hayes is expected to draw a young crowd to the Franklin-Southampton County Fair at 9 p.m. today, Aug. 10. - Submitted

Pulley isn’t crazy about the 20-year-old Hayes, dubbed the Justin Bieber of country. Her 5-year-old daughter is.

“She said “mom, I have to go and get as close to the stage as I can so I can see him,’” the Franklin woman said about her daughter, Amelia.

Hayes, who was named the Male Country Artist and received the Choice Country Song for “Storm Warning” at the 2012 Teen Choice Awards, will perform at 9 p.m. The $10 admission price to the fair includes the concert, for which 3,000 to 4,000 are expected, said Fair Entertainment Chairwoman Barbette Porter. Hayes has a young following.

“I received 50 to 70 calls from South Carolina, Maryland, northern Virginia and Williamsburg,” Porter said.

Most calls were from parents, arranging to take their daughters to the show. It’s also the first time Porter has received calls from outside the area for a concert at the fair.

“At other fairs he’s played at, they’ve had a lot of girls come out in force, interested in getting to know Hunter Hays,” Porter said.

She’s expecting girls from kindergarten-age on up.

In 2011, Hayes released his debut album, toured with Taylor Swift, kicked-off his first-ever headlining tour, made his national network television debut on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” and made his Grand Ole Opry debut.

Ryleigh Skeeters is also excited about the concert.

“I just like his music,” said the 10-year-old daughter of Lisa and John Skeeters of Newsoms.

A fifth-grader at Southampton Academy, Ryleigh has been to concerts to see Bieber, Taylor Swift and Hannah Montana. She appreciates that she can see Hayes so close to home.

As for Amelia Pulley, she tells everyone about her plans to go to the concert with her mom.

“When I found out (about his appearance) a few months ago and (told her), she didn’t believe me,” Casie Pulley said. “She was so excited.”

Entering kindergarten at Riverdale Elementary School this fall, Amelia plans to be at the concert four hours before Hayes’ appearance.

As for the forecast, there’s a 60 percent chance of rain for the outdoor show, according to the National Weather Service.