ST. MARYS — It was a different small town Saturday night in St. Marys this weekend.

Joe Diffie was brought to town to play some of his 35 charted singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, five of which peaked at No. 1, by St. Marys Auto Body in their seventh annual community concert.

Among his most notable chart toppers are “John Deere Green,” “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox,” “Honkey Tonk Attitude,” “Bigger Than the Beatles,” and “Pickup Man.”

About the show, St. Marys Auto Body co-owner Sandy Buerk said, “Last night, St. Marys not only got to see a show from a country music veteran but they watch a star being born. Elvie Shane kicked off his first tour right here. Watch for that name later this year. We might just have to bring him back to headline.”

The event started in 2010 when Burek and co-worker, co-organizer, and music aficionado Ryan Herzing were brainstorming and got the idea to bring nationally recognized acts to St. Marys.

They boldly picked up a phone and called an agent who represented Merle Haggard and after an Elk County hunting trip, the relationship was solidified and has been strong ever since.

“Now we’re at the point that we’ve done enough shows that we’re on people’s radar. Nashville knows where Elk County is,” said Burke, who added that the show has already hosted The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Montgomery Gentry, Little Texas, and Sawyer Brown, to name a few.

Buerk said only about 50 seats were left unsold out of 1,344 and $3,500 was donated to the St. Marys Area School District Foundation.

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