The 50th Anniversary of the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention will be hosted by the Athens State University on October 7th and 8th. Athens, Alabama is famous for its music, and at the Fiddlers’ Convention, it is easy to see why. For the past 50 years, on the school’s campus, music, and buck dancing along with wonderful food and crafts have brought in previous years over 15,000 attendees.
The musical entertainment is held on the steps of Founders’ Hall, previously home to the women’s institution of higher learning and designated sacred by President Lincoln during the Civil War. The main stage is sponsored by the Alabama Farmers’ Cooperative where over $18,000 in prize money will be awarded throughout the semi-centennial competition.
The Convention will hold competitions on Friday and Saturday, with more than 200 people performing.
There are more than 20 different categories of performances, including fiddle, guitar, harmonica, mandolin, bluegrass banjo, dobro, dulcimer, old time singing, banjo, and buck dancing.
Special performances on Friday, October 7th both at 4:00PM and at 6:00PM will be presented by Riders In The Sky. Their performances will be held on the Alabama Farmers’ Cooperative Main Stage. Riders In The Sky is an American Western music group, which began performing in 1977. They have won two Grammy Awards, and have written and performed music for major motion pictures. In their 39 years, Riders In The Sky have performed in over 6,200 live performances, almost 300 national television appearances, over 200 public radio shows, 700 Grand Ole Opry appearances, and three television series. They call Nashville, TN home.
Performing on Saturday, October 8th will be Norman Blake, Nancy Blake, and James Bryan at 5:00PM. Norman is an American instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter. In a career spanning more than 60 years, he has played in a number of folk and country groups. He is considered one of the leading figures in the bluegrass revival of the 1970s and is still active today, playing concert dates and making albums with Nancy Blake, and many other musicians.
You can’t have great entertainment without having great food and hand-made crafts. The Convention will have old-fashioned arts and crafts at approximately 150 booths. Food items will range from quick snacks to full meals, all delicious, and many from our local restaurants.
Gates open at 8:00AM. Cost is $15 for Friday, $15 for Saturday and $20 for both days. Children under 12 are admitted free with a parent. Advance tickets are available from the Athens State Business Office, located in Founders’ Hall at 300 North Beaty Street.
By:Teresa Todd President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association
Athens-Limestone County Tourism, President