From Tennessee to Ohio


FORT LORAMIE — The 40th anniversary Country Concert 2021 wrapped up Saturday with headliner Jason Aldean, along with performances by Cole Ritter, a musician with ties to Houston, Ohio.

A singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Gallatin, Tennessee, Ritter said he spent summers as a child in Houston, and calls Ohio his “second home.”

Ritter currently resides in Nashville, where he attends Belmont University. He is part of a band called, Cole Ritter and the Night Owls. On Saturday, Ritter played two sets on the Coors Light Homegrown Honky Tonk Stage and the Dr. Pepper and Cream Soda VIP Stage.

Temperatures throughout the 3-day concert remained mild, and Saturday brought a drizzle of rain which passed over quickly, leaving attendees cool and comfortable. Spirits were high as concert-goers revelled in the return of the event after last year’s cancellation thanks to COVID-19.

According to Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy Brooks Mason, the long weekend carried on without any major issues.

“I think they’re all having a great time. I’ve seen no problems whatsoever,” Mason said Saturday afternoon. “Everyone is just here to listen to the music.”

Barb Ayers, of Port Clinton, along with her boyfriend, Jim Muller, said this was her third time attending Country Concert. After last year’s cancelled event, Ayers said she was glad to be back.

“It feels pretty amazing. We started anticipating it about three months beforehand and getting excited about it, listening to the music people were going to play,” she said. “We had figured it was going to be canceled last year, but it just made the anticipation that much bigger.”

Food and drink vendors were also happy to be back at Fort Loramie’s Hickory Hill Lakes.

Tim Rourke, of Port Jefferson, is a volunteer and member for the Newport Sportsmen Club of Fort Loramie. Rourke said he works the club’s beer and ice tents each year and has done so since 1994.

“(The Newport Sportsmen Club) has been involved since the conception of Country Concert. They do all the logistics, line up all the product, and have multiple ice trucks at the event, then they get a ‘piece of the pie,’ so to speak,” Rourke said.

According to Rourke, money generated from the involvement in Country Concert goes toward the club’s shooting sports and efforts to get kids involved in outdoor recreational activities.

“When you’re in Sportsmen Club and you’re spending money trying to send kids to different camps, like (Coonskin Cap Brigade Camp), and things like that, you have to have the funds to do it, so this is a big part of that,” he said.

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