Toledo Welcomes Crystal Bowersox

Traveling in style, Crystal Bowersox arrived at her first stop, the Clear Channel studios in downtown Toledo. "It's good to be home. It's been a little crazy," says Crystal. "I want today to be some of the best memories of my life and I don't think that's possible for that not to happen."

Walking into the studio, Crystal took the time to greet a few dozen fans. Fan Tanya Koester says, "I first heard her when she was like 10." And Cheryl Koester says, "We always go over to Papa's Bar and she's played there quite a bit and we've seen her at Little Pit Roasts. She's done, she knows a lot of people." And a lot of people now know her, or at least her name.

After Clear Channel, it was another round of interviews at Cumulus. When asked, "How do you balance motherhood with everything else that's going on?" Crystal replied, "Like any other job, wake up, take care of your kid, go to work, come home. How does any mom do it?" Crystal isn't just any mom, she's "Mama Sox", which is what she's known as at Papa's Tavern.

Crystal signed autographs and posed for pictures with another group of screaming fans outside the AT&T store. She reunited with some old friends and met some new ones. Michelle Bundy from Cincinnati says, "We pawned a TV, DVD player, 5 DVDs and a stereo system to get here. Got $30 put in the gas tank. But we don't know how we're getting back."

At AT&T, Crystal got a text message from American Idol judge Ellen DeGeneres telling her what she'll be singing next week, which turned out to be "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney. It's a song choice Crystal is happy about.

After her whirlwind morning of appearances, it was on to downtown Toledo where thousands lined the streets to get a glimpse of our American Idol. It was fantastic to see so many people downtown and all with smiles on their faces. The parade was quick, but it left lasting memories for the thousands who came out to see the hometown star.

It all started with Mayor Mike Bell who led off on his Harley. The mayor also loves what Crystal did for the city today. He says, "I think it's great for northwest Ohio and Toledo, and God did his part by giving us a great day. Think of the energy here when people come together things work out. I am proud of Crystal and I'm pretty dag gone sure she's going to win."

The parade route was short, but thousands packed in to see Crystal up close. The young and old alike lined the streets.

Students at the Toledo School for the Arts, where Crystal was once a student, marched in the parade. And they say her success is rubbing off on them a bit. Some even drove hours to see Crystal, like Cindy Royce who came from Columbus and took time off work.

Crystal is a diabetic and a group from Diabetes Youth Services also marched in the parade to help raise awareness and money to help fight the disease.

Then after the parade, Crystal headed to Levis Square where a concert was slated for 12:30. The music started around 1, after Toledo mayor Mike Bell presented Crystal with a crystal key to the city.

Two songs later, Crystal signed autographs from the stage. While she sang, the Mud Hens mascots Muddy and Muddona danced in the background. Toledo's police chief estimates about 10,000 people showed up for the parade and concert.

Then Crystal appeared at the Ottawa Co. Fairgrounds around 5:30 p.m. for a short concert for her fans before heading over to the Mud Hens stadium to throw the first pitch and sing the national anthem.

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