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Snapshots of Britney fans

Snapshots of Britney Spears' fans before her concert Saturday night at the Alerus Center: Camping out Two longtime Britney fans snatched up tickets for the show as soon as they went on sale. They also brought their early-bird-takes-the-worm appro...

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Angela Carpenter, Andrea Nelson and Kelsey Hanson hold up signs while waiting in line for the Britney Spears concert Satuday evening at the Alerus Center. Carpenter flew from Oxnard, Calif., to surprise her sister, Andrea, for her birthday. Herald photo by SARAH KOLBERG.

Snapshots of Britney Spears' fans before her concert Saturday night at the Alerus Center:

Camping out

Two longtime Britney fans snatched up tickets for the show as soon as they went on sale. They also brought their early-bird-takes-the-worm approach to getting into the show and were the first in line.

Nicole Robertson, 19, Grand Forks, and Beth Dennison, 20, Hutchinson, Minn., said they spent Friday night camped out on the sidewalk to make sure they got a good spot with their general admission tickets.

That meant the duo had spent about 24 hours in the Alerus Center parking lot by the time the doors opened a little after 7 p.m.

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"We slept out here last night on the ground," Dennison said. "We cuddled for warmth."

When asked how long they have been fans of Spears' music, Robertson responded with a sarcastic "Oh, please," adding that she's been a fan since Britney became a pop star in the late 1990s.

They've never braved the elements and long wait time like this for other concerts, they said. But Robertson said Spears is in a class by herself.

"She's a really good performer," she said. "She's fighting through to stay on top."

'Wild show'

Stacie Steinborn, 19, and Sarah Axtman, 30, are sisters from Breckenridge, Minn., who knew they had to make it to the Spears concert Saturday night.

"We want to see her wild show," Axtman said, adding that she is a longtime Britney fan.

"She's very creative and very entertaining," Steinborn added.

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Not typical fans

Neil Reuter and his wife, Colleen, weren't the typical 20-somethings in the crowd. The two live southwest of Grand Forks and picked up tickets last week.

Colleen admitted that the last concert she attended may have been a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young show during her college years. What made this show appealing to her was the sheer logistics of Spears' "Circus" tour, which requires dozens of semis just to transport the stage between cities.

"It's more than just Britney Spears," she said.

Neil said it's been a few years since he went to a concert, too, but he was interested in seeing what happened Saturday night. "Mostly because of the whole show, kind of the Vegas atmosphere," he said.

Hardly a fan

Brent Berg didn't have a ticket for the concert but came to the Alerus Center parking lot about 7 p.m. to see how many people were waiting in line.

He said he's hardly a fan of Spears' music but had a big grin when he added, "I wouldn't mind seeing her in those costumes but that's about it. "

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Berg lives in Fargo now but is originally from Grand Forks and said he was happy to see the city get a big event once again. "I think this is bringing in a lot of money to Grand Forks," he said.

Third time's a charm

For Missy Henry, Bemidji, Saturday night's show was her third Britney Spears' concert but the first time she'd seen "Circus." Before the concert began, she and friend Erin Rauch, Bemidji, were near the front of the line for those holding general admission tickets.

They came to Grand Forks together, a "last girls' night out" for them to share in a while because Henry will soon leave Bemidji. So, the night was bittersweet, but they planned to enjoy it.

"Who wouldn't have fun at a Britney concert?," Henry said, with a big grin.

First time's a charm, too

DeVan Helmonski, 15, Grand Forks, had never been to a big concert at the Alerus Center. Spears' "Circus" was his first. His 19-year-old sister, Tisha Helmonski, bought their tickets and was his concert companion. They both wore orange T-shirts decorated with cutout circus animals.

"I'm excited," DeVan said. "It's not a concert; it's a spectacle."

Back in Black

Margie Silver of Fargo and her teenage daughter, Ali, both wore black to the concert -- including, for Ali, black lipstick and big black sunglasses studded with rhinestones. They often go to concerts together, sometimes jazz, this time Britney Spears, they said. Ali is a big fan.

"We have been following her career along its peaks and valleys," Margie Silver said. "The last one (valley), it was a blessing she came out of it. I thank her father for that."

Young fans

Kayla Opplinger, 10, Wahpeton, N.D., got tickets to Britney as an early birthday present. She'll turn 11 on Nov. 7. She and her friend, Kiley Meyer, also 10, both wore pink leggings and black T-shirts with a colorful design.

"I like her music and her voice," Kayla said of Britney, wearing a pink feathered mask that came with a book about Spears that her mother bought for her birthday.

Marry me, Britney!

Casey Muckenhirn, 18, Fargo, was hard to miss in the line of folks waiting to get into the Alerus Center. Tall with shaggy blond hair, he was carrying a big sign with pictures of Britney, and wearing a black T-shirt that said in front, "I have Britney-itis," and in back, "Marry me Britney! please."

What does he have to offer Britney in marriage?

"Good looks and my charm," he said with a smile. "I just want to see her and give her a hug."

"I want a backstage pass so bad!" Muckenhirn added. No word on whether he accomplished his goal.

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