The northeast Iowa town of Clarksville is preparing for a big celebration tonight to honor native and “American Idol” finalist Maddie Poppe.
Clarksville Mayor Val Swinton has been busy taking phone calls and making arrangements. “Everybody in this town is very excited for her,” according to Swinton. “Everybody in one way or another knows the Poppe family. And this is really a situation where small town girl makes good — and everybody is very proud of her and very happy for her.”
There’s a parade down Main Street in Clarksville at 5 p.m, and then a free concert at the county fairgrounds at 6:30. “The last time we checked there was something like 6,000 people who got on Facebook who said they were definitely coming or leaning toward coming, to Maddie’s concert,”Swinton says. “So, to put six-thousand people at the Butler County Fairgrounds in Allison — that’s quite a crowd.”
The influx of fans is a lot more people than you normally see in the area. He says Clarksville’s population is 1,400 and Allison is smaller than that. “So, there’s going to be a lot of people flooding into the area to see Maddie.” Swinton is in his second term as mayor, and is a pastor at a local church.
“I’ve lived in Clarksville for 21 years and nothing in the 21 years that I’ve been here even remotely compares to this. To have this continuous national exposure — I mean week after week after week — it’s just something that we haven’t experienced before,” Swinton says. The parade will be a short one — which Swinton says is part of the overall plan.
He says American Idol just wants enough of a parade to produce some great video, so it will be four or five blocks. Poppe will get into a limo after the parade and head for Allison. Swinton says the parade will feature fire trucks, police cars and convertibles carrying Poppe, her parents and her grandparents.
Poppe is one of three finalist who will compete for the title in the two-night finale of “American Idol” this weekend on ABC TV.