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Country music fans line up early for annual Hodag Country Fest chair line
RHINELANDER - Country music fans were all smiles Wednesday evening even after waiting in line for more than half a day. 

"My nephew went up at the top of the hill at midnight and my niece went over here at 1 a.m.," said Janette Cleveland.

But that's what you have to do if you want to see performers up close at Hodag Country Fest, according to Cleveland, a Rhinelander native. 

The annual chair line event at the festival grounds in Rhinelander kicked off at 6 p.m. Wednesday night. 

People gathered in lines at the corners of the grounds, all hoping that their line would be called first to put their chairs down. 

Cleveland says the early morning and hours of waiting are worth it come performance time. 

"[Last year] Cole Swindell was looking right in my eyes. We were like this far apart," said Cleveland, showing the distance. "And he was singing into my face and I was like oh, I think I love him."

Everyone in line can place two chairs in the grass, so Cleveland's family gets into two lines to ensure everyone will get to see the action up close. 

"We split up into groups to increase our odds," said Cleveland.

The women of the family stood in one line, and the men in the other. 

"We actually were here this early so we can look up at the band members," said Travis Johnson. 

The chair line is just one of the unique things about Hodag that keeps people coming back year after year. 

"You don't have to be a VIP, you get a front row seat if you want to come here early and just enjoy the show," said Johnson. 

Story By: Rose McBride


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