Saturday, December 20, 2014

'Idol' back Friday for Richmond Free Fair

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 7/9/2014

RICHMOND — Eric Gordon is coming home.

It’s been several months since the singer-songwriter donned a blue-green Members Only jacket and sang his heart out for Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. on Fox’s “American Idol.” Although the Central Heights graduate’s time in the reality TV competition was longer than what was portrayed in aired episodes, Gordon has been reaping benefits from his January appearance. The former Richmond resident is set to share his success with his hometown this weekend at the Richmond Free Fair and other local venues.

Gordon is one of three evening performances for the fair and is set to take the stage 9 p.m. Friday.

He also is planning two more weekend shows. A 7 p.m. Saturday performance at the Franklin County Visitor Information Center, 2011 E. Logan St., Ottawa, has limited seating and require tickets.

Tickets are on sale for $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Advanced tickets must be purchased by emailing Gordon at, he said. The third show is set for 10 a.m. Sunday at Grace Community Fellowship Church, 501 S. Poplar St., Ottawa.

Though people back home are excited to see Gordon again, he said, he’s still a little anxious about this weekend.

“I’m nervous for a couple of reasons,” Gordon said. “I’m nervous because I want to do a great job, but I also don’t know what to expect. I don’t know who’s going to come out to support. I’ve been told it’s a really big deal to have me there, and I know a lot of people are really looking forward to it. I don’t want to let anybody down.”

Gordon has been busy since his “American Idol” experience. He released a single he wrote a few years ago, “Fly,” which is available wherever digital music can be purchased, he said.

“It was a song I wrote back in college, and I just kind of pulled it out of a pile,” Gordon said. “I kind of played with it a little bit and made it current.”

The song also will receive it’s own music video, he said, which is expected to begin filming July 18. Gordon struggles with anxiety and depression, he said, and wanted to invite people who experience the same struggle to join him in his music video.

“I wrote the song during kind of a dark time,” Gordon said. “I had done a casting call on Facebook looking for volunteers that specifically have a mental health disorder or who had one in the past. We had a really huge number of people who reached out.”

But before the video can be released, Gordon’s hometown will get a taste of his performance abilities.

Gordon and a friend, who will be providing back-up vocals, plan to perform an hour-long acoustic set Friday at the Richmond Free Fair, he said. The set will consist of many original songs and cover songs that Gordon plans to use for another shot at “American Idol,” he said.

“I’m excited, and we’re pumped,” Gordon said. “We’re ready to put on an awesome show.”

Gordon’s “living room set” Saturday at the Franklin County Visitor Information Center will be an intimate performance, he said, and will only seat about 100 crowd members. The purpose of the smaller venue, he said, was to allow fans to get a closer experience for the performance. It also will allow Gordon to meet the people who have been supporting him, he said. After an hour-long performance, Gordon said, he’s planning a meet and greet with attendees.

“After I’m done [performing at other venues], I wont’ always get the opportunity to meet everybody,” Gordon said. “We want to knock down those walls and open up the opportunity for me to meet the people who have been supporting me for awhile and meet the people who want to get to know me. Maybe they’ve heard me sing but know nothing about me and it would be a time to connect with them. It’s a unique, fun way of connecting with fans.”



The Richmond Free Fair returns this week for its 90th consecutive year, organizers said.

The fair begins today, running through Saturday, and is set to feature about the same number of exhibitors and entries as last year — about 173 exhibitors with 812 entries — Loretta Roeckers, fair director, said. More than $1,000 in prize money was awarded last year, she said.

“The fair usually has exhibitors from several counties in the area and a few states, which last year were Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin,” she said.

Fair activities this year include such youth athletic events as Cowboy Olympics, which features Central Heights High School and Anderson County High School Future Farmers of America teams in competitions. Other athletic events include old-time games for all ages and clinics and judging contests.

Along with Eric Gordon’s performance Saturday, the Garnett Community Band and Richter Ramblers are set to perform Friday night. Rusty Rierson is to perform Saturday.

Saturday’s fair events also will boast the seventh annual greased pig contest, mutton busting, a silent auction, the old tractor show and ice cream social. A children’s parade is set for 5:15 p.m. Saturday with the grand parade following at 6 p.m. The parade’s theme this year is “Book Titles,” and is to be led by Charles Feuerborn and Mary Jane Wall, who have volunteered about 65 years of helping with the fair.

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