LITTLE VALLEY - What could be more synonymous with country music than a county fair? It seems the people with the Cattaraugus County Fair Association have done a great job in the past to bring some of the biggest names in the business to the stage during fair week. This year is no different.
Just a couple of years ago, Scotty McCreery was taking a bow as the winner of Season 10 of "American Idol." Now, the 20-year-old is balancing his music career with family, faith and his education, and it is something that is proving to be an interesting balancing act.
Capping off a stretch of six fairs in a row, having 12 in his schedule for the tour season, on the infield of the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds, McCreery said he loves to come out and play the county fair scene.
"It's cool being able to go to the people in areas like this (out in the country), not having them drive hours to a show in New York City or something," he said. "I have fun when we are at the fairs. I grew up going to them. I love it."
And, he said, if time permits, and people are paying attention, one may see him out and about on the fairgrounds.
"If I have time, I like to put on a hat and sneak around. I have gotten pretty good at that," he said.
"I have fun when we are at the fairs. I grew up going to them. I love it."
But what about life after that coronation song on television?
"Well, I love traveling," McCreery said. "I get to travel a lot more than I could have dreamt of. I am lucky and blessed to be able to tour and write songs with some of the best people in the business."
As far as his education, the media studies major at North Carolina State University said learning to balance all of life's pursuits has become part of the educational experience.
"I am still learning how to do all of that," he said. "Music is the first priority, well that and faith and family."
McCreery said he has been putting in a lot of hours, physically going to class at North Carolina State University. He has taken the online approach to be able to tour and still keep up with his classes while living on campus.
On top of his education, music, family and faith, McCreery is also a national ambassador for the 12.14 Foundation. The organization has a mission of building a performing arts center in Newtown, Conn., the site of the Sandy Hook tragedy.
"The foundation, and my involvement, is doing great," he said. "We want to make sure the children in the area are able to reach their fullest potential with this performing arts center. I, of course, am helping out with the musical side of the place. We don't want these kids to be defined by the tragedy, but to have something more to be proud of."
Scotty McCreery will be performing Thursday, July 31, at the Cattaraugus County Fair at 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the fairgrounds or by calling 938-9146. Grandstand tickets are $28. Bleacher tickets are $30 and track tickets are $35. The concert ticket admission does not include admission fees to the fairgrounds, which are $7 presale and $9 at the gate.