Tuesday, July 17, 2012

DeKalb County Fiddlers' Convention Still Going Strong For Over 100 years

Contact: Russell Gulley
Tele: 256-845-2224 or 256-845-0203
E-mail: bwac@russellgulley.com

DeKalb County Fiddlers’ Convention
Celebrates 104th Anniversary

Esther and Hannah Ward
Fort Payne:  104 years ago the sound of the fiddle and the bow rang out in the rafters of the DeKalb County Courthouse. With those first notes, the 1908 DeKalb County Fiddlers’ Convention ushered in one of the most treasured traditions of our community. Today, that tradition is still alive in the  in the sound of the super group Alabama, on stage at the annual Boom Days Heritage Celebration, and in the magical tunes of world class old time fiddlers such as James Bryan; all right here in DeKalb County.

 August 4th 2012 at 11 am, contestants will gather at the Fort Payne Middle School to not only “Celebrate the Heritage” but to compete for over $3000 in prize money in 9 categories while supporting Arts In Education programs for Fort Payne Area  Schools, all as part of the DeKalb County Fiddlers’ Convention.

This 104th Anniversary Edition of the Convention is very special to the organizers because the Big Wills Arts Council (BWAC) remains committed to the worthwhile endeavors essential to presenting the event each year. “The convention continues to draw contestants from throughout the tri-state area, as far away as Nashville, up into Eastern Tennessee, into Mississippi, and Georgia,” stated Eric McKinney, the president of the Big Wills Arts Council, and the driving force in the convention’s revival almost 10 years ago. “ To continue the convention is to preserve that tradition for future generations.”

Musicians from all over the Southeastern United States recognize the convention for its historical and cultural significance. In its heyday, from 1908 till World War II, the convention was among the largest in the South with many professionals from all over the Southeast competing. Famous old time bands, such as the Johnson Family from Sand Mountain made the convention one of its regular stops each year.

Contestants begin registration at 11 AM and the contests begin at 12 Noon.
Admission is only $8.00 for spectators and contestants with children under 10 years of age admitted free. Admission includes entry into one individual contest category, while additional categories are $8.00 each per individual contestant. Entry Fees for the Bluegrass Band category will be a minimum of $32.00 (four band members) or $8.00 per band member.

“The fiddlers’ convention is a tradition that I’m proud that the arts council continues to produce”, said Russell Gulley,council director. “It’s difficult to continue presenting the event in light of our current national economic situation, but as many traditions fall by the wayside, it’s even more important to hold on to our heritage. Our convention continues to grow with contestants of all ages in all categories, ranging from pee wee to senior fiddler, to dobro and guitar, on to a full “bluegrass” band competition. It’s also for such a good cause, our Arts in Education Program”.

REMEMBER the date August 6th for the 103rd Anniversary of the DeKalb County Fiddlers’ Convention. Come out and join in the “Jam Sessions”, greet old friends, meet new ones, “Celebrate the Heritage” and support Arts in Education.

For more information, Contact the Big Wills Arts Council at 256-845-2224 or e-mail the director at bwac@russellgulley.com. Join the convention on FaceBook at www.facebook.com/DeKalbCountyFiddlersConvention .

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