State fiddlers' convention to descend on fairgrounds

Starr McMullen was one of the fiddle performers during the 2010 state competition. A number of fiddlers will be on hand for this week's state convention.

RICKREALL -- The Polk County Fairgrounds will become "fiddle central" this week as the Oregon Old Time Fiddlers Association holds its annual convention starting Thursday, April 7.

The three-day event, which runs through Saturday, includes the popular "Fiddle and Variety Show," an evening of foot-stompin' fun open to the public, on Friday.

Organizers estimate that anywhere from 200 to 300 fiddlers and other performers will descend upon the fairgrounds for the annual convention, which started in 1968. It was held in Roseburg until about 10 years ago, when it moved to the Polk County Fairgrounds.

"We enjoy coming to Polk County," said local convention organizer Lew Holt. "About 50 percent of our members live with 50 to 60 miles of Polk County."

While events on Thursday and Saturday aren't open to the public, the Oregon Old Time Fiddlers Association is putting on a show on Friday.

Holt said about 30 or more performers will play instruments and sing during the "Fiddle and Variety Show." Among the fiddling styles are old time, swing, and perhaps some Cajun-style fiddling. During the intermission from fiddle music, a banjo band will take the stage.

Holt said the younger players are especially popular. Friday's show will feature a pint-sized fiddle wonder from Eugene in 7-year-old Tenaya Cooley, the Oregon Old Time Fiddlers peewee champion.

"It's just not a group up there on stage," Holt said. "There will be a great variety of style and ages. Performers from all over the state of Oregon will be there."

A warmup jam begins at 6:30 p.m. with fiddle music starting at 7 p.m.

Fiddle Time!

What:

The Oregon Old Time Fiddlers Association's "Fiddle and Variety Show."

When:

Friday, April 8, 6:30 p.m.

Where:

Polk County Fairgrounds, 520 S. Pacific Highway (99W), Rickreall. The show is in the fairgrounds Main Building.

Admission:

Adults, $6; seniors, $5; students, $3; preschoolers, free. Tickets are available at the door.

For more information:

Lew Holt, 503-391-5377 or 503-559-2062; e-mail to Lewholt@aol.com.

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