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Ashe County Fiddlers Convention to Bring Old Time Music, Dance and Traditions This Weekend


By Katie Benfield

This weekend, Ashe County will host its 46th annual Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddlers Convention at the Ashe County Park in Jefferson, hosted by the Ashe County Arts Council. This convention will take place from Friday, July 24 until Saturday, July 25. Overnight camping is available as early as 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Friday night, the convention will start with the Appalachian Barn Dance at Lakeview Shelter from 7-10 p.m. with $5 admission. This dance consists of a variation of music, performed by two different bands — the Strictly Strings Band with Cecil Gurganus and the Crooked Road Ramblers — along with John Turner as the caller for all the dances, which range from square dancing to two steps. Beginners and experienced dancers are welcome.

Jane Lonon, executive director of the Ashe County Arts Council, said that the Appalachian Barn Dance is a new and exciting event at the convention this year.
“Dance is an important part of our mountain culture,” she said. “It’s a family-friendly event with several different kinds of dancing for those who want to dance and for those who want to learn.”

The park gates open at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, and the first event takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with Youth Individual and Youth Band competitions. These competitions are followed by Adult Individual competitions from 2-6 p.m. and dance competitions from 6-7 p.m. At 7 p.m., the Youth Awards are presented, and at 7:30 p.m. the Adult Band competition ensues.

The awards for the winners of the competitions range from cash to rosettes of various kinds.

According to Lonon, the competition is the most important part of the convention.

“There are musicians from all around the region, working and learning together. It’s a magical event. Everybody wants bragging rights, and they all want to come away with a ribbon or monetary cash reward,” she said. “But it’s more than just that. It’s about the comradery and the musicians coming together and learning from one another. It’s a ball to watch.”

However, the convention isn’t just about comradery and awards.

“The convention is to celebrate and preserve the traditional music of the mountains, to support musicians and to provide a high quality concert experience for everyone,” Lonon said. “As an audience member, it’s a chance to hear the best of the best in a beautiful outdoor setting.”

The proceeds from the convention will go toward supporting the Junior Appalachian Musicians Program. According to Lonon, this will help provide any child from 4-6 grade that wants to learn to play the banjo, fiddle or guitar with free instruction.

“Through this, we will be able to pass on our musical heritage to the next generation, and that’s very important,” she said. “We want to preserve the sound, the stories and the histories of bluegrass and old time music, and to share that with our youth and the next generation of musicians is so important.”

Ticket prices are as follows:

• Overnight, starting on Thursday, per night – $10 with no electricity, $15 with limited electricity
• Friday only – $5
• Saturday only – $10
• All weekend – $15
• Children 12 and under are free with a paying adult
Tickets are available in advance at Ashe Arts Center, call 336-846-2787 for more information.

Tickets will also be available at the Ashe County Park gate, cash or check only.

For more information and park rules, please visit the convention’s website.


Ashe County Fiddlers Convention 2014
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Ashe County Fiddlers Convention 2014
Ashe County Fiddlers Convention 2014