Less than five months ago Crystal Bowersox left northwest Ohio as a relatively unknown performer. Now the 24-year-old single mom is coming home as an American Idol star with tribute parades and performances scheduled to honor her visit.
Bowersox is expected to make her triumphant return as one of three remaining American Idol hopefuls - that is, assuming she receives enough votes Tuesday night to keep her around another week.
The city of Toledo will kick off the festivities at 11:30 a.m. Friday downtown in front of Owens Corning, with a parade to run through Summit Street to Madison Avenue and to Promenade Park. Mayor Mike Bell will lead the event on his Harley-Davidson and Ms. Bowersox will ride in a car at the end of the parade, with the possibility of high school bands participating as well, said Jennifer Sorgenfrei, spokeswoman for the mayor's office. The entire parade run is expected to last about 20 minutes.
"[American Idol] is just looking to shoot three minutes of video" footage of the parade for the show, Ms. Sorgenfrei said.
At 12:30 p.m., Ms. Bowersox will perform a free concert at Levis Square, located at the intersection of Summit Street and Madison Avenue, across from Promenade Park, a 45-minute set that will most likely include a mixture of covers and originals, Ms. Sorgenfrei said.
"She's just going to plug into an amp and go," she said.
Friday's forecast called for a 30 percent chance of showers, and the city is working on locating an alternate site in the event of serious storms.
"This is a one-shot deal," Ms. Sorgenfrei said.
The city is working to fund the event through a mix of sponsorship and network donations, she said.
"We don't have the budget," Ms. Sorgenfrei said. "So far, so good."
Even if Bowersox is eliminated from the American Idol competition on Wednesday and doesn't make the top three, Ms. Sorgenfrei said there could still be a parade in her honor.
"We could still have her here. This is sort of her homecoming," she said.
Bowersox is from Elliston, Ohio, located in southeast Ottawa County, which is preparing to welcome its hometown girl with a small parade and a concert performance between 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds.
The parade will begin across the street from the fairgrounds and continue past the midway to the grandstand area, where Bowersox will perform.
Following her performance, Bowersox will be escorted by the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department to Fifth Third Field where she will perform the National Anthem prior to the Mud Hens game.
Also beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, tickets go on sale for the "American Idol Live!" Tour Sept. 2 performance at Huntington Center. The concert will feature the American Idol Season 9 top 10 contestants: Didi Benami, Bowersox, Lee DeWyze, Andrew Garcia, Casey James, Aaron Kelly, Michael Lynche, Siobhan Magnus, Katie Stevens, Tim Urban, and Bowersox.
Tickets are priced at $40.50, $50.50, and $70.50, and will be available at www.livenation.com, all Ticketmaster locations, the Huntington Center ticket office and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.