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News Maryland Harford County Aberdeen Havre De Grace

The Oak Ridge Boys headline HdG Seafood Festival Friday

While a steady rain fell on the 33rd annual Havre de Grace Seafood Festival during the day Friday, festival visitors heading to the evening concert with headliners The Oak Ridge Boys were treated to a stunning sunset casting the few remaining clouds in orange.

Lori Maslin, coordinator of the festival, said about "an hour's worth of rain" fell Friday afternoon, "but it cleared up right away and the sun came out, so we're in good shape."

The festival continues Saturday and Sunday, with a weather forecast of mostly sunny conditions and temperatures in the 80s.

The Oak Ridge Boys, a country and gospel quartet backed up by guitar, drum and keyboard players, performed a medley of their hits during the past 40 years to the crowd gathered in the Yacht Basin of Tydings Memorial Park. Maslin estimated about 1,300 tickets were sold for the show.

"God bless you folks; God bless Maryland," Joe Bonsall, vocalist and a member of the group since 1973, told the crowd toward the end of the band's 90-minute set.

Highlights of The Oak Ridge Boys' set included their more than 30-year-old hit, "Elvira," with its signature "Oom Poppa Mow Mow" hook, and a tribute to the late country singer George Jones.

Jones, also known as "The Possum," died in April; he was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and earned a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, according to CNN.com.

Bonsall called Jones "arguably, the finest county music singer of all time."

The Oak Ridge Boys, who had performed with Jones, played their rendition of his single "Same Ole Me."

"We'll sing it in honor of The Possum," Bonsall said, pointing toward the sky.

Judy Hogan of Havre de Grace, who came to the show with her husband, Tom, called the performance "awesome, really wonderful."

"That George Jones number was very good," she said.

The Seafood Festival attracted a number of out-of-town visitors.

Tracy Savage of Philadelphia and her sister, Shannon Hawkins of Atlanta, sat on a blanket near the top of the hill of the Yacht Basin, grooving to The Oak Ridge Boys.

"All of this is our groove anyway, to be out in the open listening to the live bands," Savage said.

Hawkins was seeing The Oak Ridge Boys for the first time.

"I'm loving it, absolutely loving it," she said.

Savage, who said she had tried for four years to get to the Seafood Festival after her co-workers told her about it, came with her sister, god-sister and her sister's best friend.

"I was determined to make it this year, and when we heard The Oak Ridge Boys were going to be here, we said, 'That's a plus, we're going.' "

Savage and her friends spent the day Friday sampling the many gastronomic delights of the festival.

"We were having a ball," she said. "We had a little bit of fish, we had chicken tacos; we had ice cream that was two days from the cow."

Savage also recommended sampling alligator.

Hawkins said she was not able to check out the food selections Friday, but planned to check them out over the weekend.

"I'm looking forward to grubbing tomorrow," she said.

Kristina Liwoch and her husband, Mark, of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., were seated close to the stage.

Kristina was even able to get a set list and autographed picture from the band.

She said she grew up listening to The Oak Ridge Boys, who were a favorite of her mother, who is homebound living with multiple sclerosis.

"I grew up listening to The Oak Ridge Boys and this is beyond the best, and my mother will be beside herself when I tell her about the photo," she said.

Mark Liwoch said the band members were "very friendly, personable and they make themselves very accessible to their fans."

The Liwochs also enjoyed the Seafood Festival.

"We bought tons of merchandise, had some good food and some delicious libations [drinks]," Mark said.

The festival is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday in Tydings Park. For more information, call 410-939-1525 or visit http://www.hdgseafoodfestival.org.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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