ELYRIA — Say the words “Hannah Montana” to any pre-teen girl and watch her eyes go big as saucers.Say “free tickets” to parents and either stand aside or get trampled.
Combine both, and suddenly the Midway Mall food court is packed.
By 10:30 a.m. Saturday, hundreds of eager children and parents were already waiting in a line that stretched from the mall’s doors past the rows of restaurants.
Their mission: Win two second-row tickets to a long sold-out Hannah Montana concert Jan. 3 at The Q in Cleveland.
There’s no hotter present this Christmas. Just ask Gary Lowery of Elyria, who tried to get tickets to the Jan. 11 show in Detroit for his 7-year-old granddaughter, Sarah Lowery.
“They were sold out in six minutes,” he said. “A few minutes later, they were online for $1,200 a pop.”
The tickets cost only $21 to $66 through the box office, but a quick check on eBay shows them going for $2,599 in Cleveland.
Passes to the New York City show on Dec. 27 can be had for the low, low price of $8,500.
So what’s all the fuss about?
“Hannah Montana” is a Disney Channel show starring Miley Cyrus and her country music star father, Billy Ray Cyrus.
Miley plays a teen who, by day, is just an ordinary girl. But by night, she has a second life as singing sensation Hannah Montana.
The 15-year-old actress uses her stage name on the “Best of Both Worlds” tour, which Forbes magazine says has drawn Miley a $3.5 million paycheck.
“I love her!” squealed 13-year-old Becca Pavlic of Amherst, who waited Saturday with her friend, 10-year-old Amy Woody of Vermilion.
The girls were so jittery that all they could do was chatter and nod with eyes wide while they waited. Their mothers said the girls run around the house nonstop singing the Montana tunes “True Friends,” “Rock Star” and “Life’s What You Make It.”
Kathy Kerstetter, 49, of Elyria, wasn’t afraid to admit she wanted the tickets for herself.
She’s recorded every episode of “Hannah Montana” and almost every talk show appearance by Miley.
“It would be great to get to a concert this hot,” Kerstetter said. “She’s an outstanding young role model, with great parents and a great voice.”
And don’t make the mistake of thinking only girls like “Hannah Montana.” Nick Benne, 11, and his 8-year-old brother, Zach, of New London, were also dying to win the tickets.
After all, Miley is cute, they said.
But while hundreds wanted them, the tickets could only go to one person.
Q104 disc jockey Tim Richards cut the music on his live broadcast from the mall at 12:30 p.m. and drew the names of 10 finalists.
Each chose a gift-wrapped package guaranteed to hold a prize, and all opened them at the same time.
Robert Lang of Grafton ripped his wrapping paper away and found the tickets nestled inside. He held them high above his head with his shaking hands and a huge victory smile spread across his face.
The tickets will go under the Christmas tree Tuesday for his 5-year-old daughter, Morgan, he said.
“She’ll scream,” Lang said. “It’s going to be hard not to sell these on eBay. I could turn these two pieces of paper into a couple thousand dollars, but I love her too much.”
Contact Jason Hawk at 329-7148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.