GARNER — When the Cratsenburg family traveled home from Myrtle Beach to Michigan recently, they drove more than an hour out of their way to visit Garner.
Their destination: All things Scotty McCreery.
"His singing - it takes my breath away," said Hannah Cratsenburg, 14. "It's amazing."
Hannah, an "American Idol" fan, wanted to see McCreery's hometown. So her family agreed to detour there on the way back to their home in Cement City, Mich.
"I just wanted to see where he came from and what made him such a good kid," Hannah said.
The family visited the Chamber of Commerce, Garner High School and Lowes Foods, where she met McCreery's boss.
"We took pictures outside by the sign of his high school," said Shari Cratsenburg, Hannah's mother.
Now some Garner leaders are hoping other people will follow the Cratsenburgs' example and visit too.
"I think it's just the beginning," Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams said. "We'll see a whole lot more of it."
When McCreery fans stop by, he said, they might also buy a tank of gas at a Garner station or eat at a Garner restaurant. And that's good for the town, Williams said.
He hopes McCreery fans will keep coming for a while.
"His legacy is going to be just like Kellie Pickler," said Williams, referring to the former "Idol" contestant from Albemarle.
Some fans still visit that town, said Chris Lambert, executive director of the Convention & Visitors Bureau of Stanly County.
"People do some crazy stuff," Lambert said. "They will drive all over the place."
Sometimes people still pose with a downtown sign that denotes the hometown of the country music star, he said.
As for the Cratsenburgs, Shari said she didn't mind the detour to Garner.
"It was the highlight of her vacation," she said of her daughter.
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