Nothing says “Fall” like the Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention, and on October 3rd and 4th Athens will celebrate beautiful weather, colorful trees and great music at the ASU campus. Beginning almost 50 years ago in 1966, the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention has become known as the “Granddaddy of Midsouth Fiddlers’ Conventions” for its role in reviving the tradition of competition in old time music. Approximately 15,000 people are expected to attend the convention this year.
The convention brings some 200 contestants to compete for top prize money. There are 18 different categories, including several fiddle and guitar categories, harmonica, mandolin, bluegrass as well as regular banjo, dulcimer, old time singing, and buck dancing. The Convention culminates in a “fiddle-off,” between the top two fiddlers. The winning fiddler is declared “Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddle Champion,” and takes home a trophy and $1000. A total of $11,850 will be awarded to contestants, and convention proceeds support student scholarships and University projects. To date more than $500,000 has been contributed to the University.
The Annual Tourism Haunts Walks begin in October at the Visitor Center meeting room. These guided ‘Haunts Walks’ offer a special treat for the Halloween season. Here is your opportunity to get a glimpse into the haunted history and mysterious happenings of Athens through ghost stories. This walking tour takes you from the Athens Visitors Center through the historic districts with guides Shane Black and Billy Ward recounting tales, woes, and the unexplained.
Belle Chevre owner Tasia Malakasis will be hosting the 2nd Annual Southern Reinvention celebration with food, fashion, and fun on October 18th from 11:AM-4:PM. This is an opportunity for the community to visit and become familiar with grass roots businesses such as Billy Reid, Jim N. Nicks, High Road Craft, Alabama Seafood and more!
Another event in October we all look forward to is the 8th Annual Athens Storytelling Festival on October 21st through the 25th. They will be bringing back their very popular Amateur night on Oct 21st. Donald Davis, Bill Lepp, Dill Pickers, John McCutchen, Kevin Kling, Andy Ouffitt Irwin and Carmen Deedy will all be at the Downtown Square large striped Carnival Tent to entertain you with their tall tales, singing and maybe an extra special delight!
“Vietnam, More Than Just a Name,” A Jackie Greenhaw Production to benefit the Alabama Veterans Museum, and will be performed on Sunday, Oct 26th at 2 pm. This emotional and valiant portrayal of history will be held at the Limestone Co. Senior Center, 912 W. Pryor St. Athens, AL. Shuttle service will be available from the DHR parking lot, 1007 W. Market Street, Athens, and begins at 1pm. Tickets are on sale now for only $10.00, and available at the Alabama Veterans Museum. Call 256-771-7578 for more information; there are a limited number of tickets.
Now through November 8th the Smithsonian Museum will present “The Way We Worked,” a traveling Museum on Main Street exhibit which is open and located downtown in the Limestone County Event Center. With their hands, their minds hard at work and sweat on their brows, American workers perform a diverse array of jobs to power our society. Whether we work for professional satisfaction and personal growth, or to ensure the well-being of ourselves and our families, work is and has been a part of nearly every American’s life. The Way We Worked – Athens embraces our agriculture roots with items such as cotton sacks & baskets n display. It has video of just how we are able to farm and harvest so quickly with today’s technology. A continuous video plays as several locals identify their favorite jobs, their worst job, and discrimination on their jobs. The exhibition draws from the Limestone County Archives’ rich collection of implements, photographs, clothing and other items. Local collectors’ artifacts help to tell this compelling Limestone County story from the past 150 years until the present day.
By: Teresa Todd
President, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association
100 Beaty Street
Athens, Al 35611