Family, friends fill Morton Park for Lane concert


Analicia Haynes

Olivia Hiltebeitel (left) runs her fingers through her hair while her friend, Haleigh Misner (right) hides her face from the camera Monday during the Chris Lane Concert at Morton Park. The girls attend Charleston High School together, play softball together and said they came out to the concert because they like country music and wanted to hang out with their friends.

Cassie Buchman, Staff Reporter

Morton Park was buzzing with anticipation and energy Monday night as people waited with their family and friends to watch country singer Chris Lane at Charleston’s Red, White and Blue Days.

The day had already been filled with activities, with another concert by Jake Maurer at 6 p.m. and vendors selling fair staples such as pork rinds, shaved ice and funnel cakes.

Even before the second concert started, people were dancing to the music playing on the stereos from the stage.

Children chased each other, some with glow sticks, while others twirled or did cartwheels in the grass.

Friends greeted each other and invited each other to sit down on picnic blankets and chairs spread around the park.

Sitting in a blue inflatable arm chair, Liz Nixon, a graduate student from Eastern studying sustainable energy and biological sciences, took some time out of her busy schedule to enjoy the concert.

“I’m sinking in this thing,” she said, laughing with some friends as she sat in the puffy blue chair.

Nixon admitted she is not really a fan of country music, “but my friends are here,” she said.

As a graduate student, Nixon said if she is not doing an experiment she is either reading or writing.

Because of this, being social is not always easy as a graduate student, but still an important part of the summer.

Nixon,originally from Michigan, said they have a parade and a little fair from where she’s from, but not a concert.

Jewett resident Mary Lou Markwell, who came to Charleston’s Red, White and Blue Days with her husband, said she lives out in the country, where these festivities are not as common.

In recent years, coming to the Red, White and Blue Days has become something of a tradition for the two,because of the setting and activities.

“We’ve come for several years to enjoy the music and atmosphere (and) good times,” she said.

Mattoon resident Samantha Gulion was at Red, White and Blue Days for the first time, but would most likely be returning next year.

After having a lot of fun this weekend, she said the concert was a good way to relax before getting back to work.

Gulion said she liked that Red, White and Blue Days had a lot of things for children such as her nephew to do.

“He’s just been playing, running around, being a boy,” she said.

For some, such as Charleston resident Lisa Dinaso, the event is a family affair. Dinaso’s mother, brother, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughter, their three children and two nieces, along with her best friend and other friends all joined her this year at the concert.

Dinaso, who said she has lived in the area “forever,” and has been coming to Red, White and Blue Days for around 15 years.

While she enjoys the concert and music, she also likes being able to spend time with her family and friends.

Though she had not previously heard of Lane before the concert, others in her group had.

“I’m excited,” she said of hearing his music for the first time.

Charleston resident Skyler James said though she had never come to too many of the Red, White and Blue Days in the past, she wanted to see Chris Lane this year.

“I just like country music,” James said. “It’s a bigger name (that) Charleston people normally don’t get.”

James said her favorite part of Red, White and Blue Days is the community aspect.

“Red, White and Blue Days is one of the biggest things in Charleston,” James said. “Everyone comes out on the Fourth.”

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].