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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tri-Valley gives big, warm welcome to Thia Megia!

By Anne Marie Fuller, Contra Costa Times

Fans from as far away as New York came here Saturday to see "American Idol" finalist Thia Megia as she returned to her hometown.

The small town of Mountain House, population 10,000, swelled with dignitaries, fans and press as the San Joaquin Valley teen turned overnight singing star attended a meet-and-greet and recognition ceremony.

Megia, 16, who just finished filming another appearance on "Idol" this week, is the youngest finalist ever on the wildly popular Fox singing competition.

"It's so good to be back home," Megia told a crowd of a couple hundred fans at the mall. "I've been extremely home sick and all the support I've gotten from my hometown has made me feel like a winner."

Festivities began around 1:30 p.m. at West Valley Mall in Tracy. Among the many attendees was Tracy resident Christopher Chan, 12, who claims to be Megia's biggest fan.

"Thia is an inspiration to me," Christopher said. "I met her a couple of years ago at Home Town Buffet and got a picture with her. I voted for her each week while she was on 'Idol.' Today, I am hoping to get her autograph. If I could say anything to Thia, I would tell her, 'Hi and that I love you a lot.'"

He later presented Megia with a bouquet of flowers during the opening ceremony at the mall. And he got her autograph.

Festivities continued late into the afternoon as Megia made an appearance in Mountain House. Certificates of recognition were presented by the Mountain House Board of Governors, San Joaquin County Supervisor Leroy Ornellas and Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton.

Read more via Mercury News

MOUNTAIN HOUSE — “American Idol” finalist Thia Megia is used to doing the singing. So it was a bit of a surprise when she was the one serenaded Saturday, April 23.

After greeting some of the more than 2,500 fans who showed up to celebrate her run for stardom on the hit Fox TV show, Manteca’s Caleb Coleman made her pause, turn around, and listen, as Ryan McKnight’s “I Do” left his lips.

“She’s always the one singing. She deserved to be serenaded,” said the 19-year-old Coleman, who said he sang to the 16-year-old singer, “Just ’cause. She deserved it.”

The song was one of many gifts Thia received at the West Valley Mall in Tracy and Mountain House’s Central Park, where the town’s general manager, a county supervisor and a congressman applauded the attention she’s brought to the community of 9,500 at the foot of the Altamont Hills.

“I’m just proud of Mountain House, and Thia, and how the community came together,” said Rep. Jerry McNerney, who said it the campaign to support the singer during her “Idol” run and the warm welcome she received Saturday was a testament to local residents. “San Joaquin County has spirit that you don’t see in many places. You saw that today.”

Supervisor Leroy Ornellas agreed, and was struck by Thia’s grace in the face of so much publicity.

“She’s very poised. Just a wonderful young lady,” said Ornellas, who handed Thia a commendation from the county. “She just has to be such an inspiration to any young women out there.”

Read more via Tracy Press by Jon Mendelson

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