The 38th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival is set for Friday and Saturday, July 3th & 4th. The musical competition kicks off on Friday morning at 9:00 a.m.
Jack Barton, the new Fiddler's Jamboree Coordinator, says this year's event promises to be exciting and entertaining, and two new competitive events have been added to the lineup. "There is a lot of excitement building around this. I think when it lands on the Fourth of July, there's usually a lot more people in attendance. We've got a couple of new events that are great. We'll have youth square dancing on Friday night. We're letting the youngsters have their own category. We've also added a bluegrass fiddle category, which is more of a truer to Appalachian style category and that will be named in honor of Neil Dudney. It will actually be the Neil Dudney award and we're excited about it."
Barton says more crafts are also expected this year. "Emma Adkins, our crafts director, and I have done a lot of reaching out to prior year craftsmen to see if they could come this year. We've been successful in filling every street but Third Street. We have 180 plus booths and about 149 crafters, some people have two booths, but it should be much more full than it was last year. Next year, we hope to fill all the streets."
Preliminaries will be held in the following categories on Friday:
Old Time Appalachian Folksinging (solos and duets); Flat Top Guitar; Junior Clogging (ages 13-39); Junior Buck Dancing (ages 13-39); Dobro Guitar; Mountain Dulcimer; Hammer Dulcimer; Novelty Event; Youth Square Dancing, Old Time Fiddle Band; Autoharp; Gospel Singing (solos); Country Harmonica; Old Time Banjo; Gospel Singing (duets, trios, and quartets); and Mandolin. Youth Square Dancing will be a new event this year.
The top three acts in each category will be called back for the finals on Friday night and a first, second, and third place will be awarded.
On Saturday starting at 9:00 a.m., preliminaries will be held in the following categories:
Junior Fiddlers (ages 13-39); Junior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance (ages up to 39); Senior Old Time Appalachian Flatfoot dance ( ages 40 and over); Senior Buckdancing (ages 40 and over); Senior Clogging (ages 40 and over); Bluegrass Banjo; Bluegrass Band; Bluegrass Fiddle, Senior Fiddlers (ages 40 and over); and Square Dancing. The Bluegrass Fiddle is a new event this year and the winner will receive the Neil Dudney Award, named for the longtime President and Coordinator of the Fiddlers Jamboree.
Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be called back Saturday night to compete for first, second, and third place.
The winners of the Junior and Senior Fiddling competition will square off for the Grand Champion Award, the Berry C. Williams Memorial Trophy at the conclusion of the festival.
Meanwhile, the National Championship for Country Musician Beginners will be held Saturday afternoon during the Jamboree featuring competitions for children, up to age twelve, in the categories of Buck Dancing, Clogging, Dobro Guitar, Mandolin, Five String Banjo, Flat Top Guitar, and Fiddle.
Preliminaries will be held in each event and then the top three finalists will be brought back to compete for first, second, and third place.
One child will receive the Best Overall Instrumental Entertainer and the top fiddler will get the James G. "Bobo" Driver Memorial Trophy.
In addition to the on-stage musical entertainment, the Fiddlers Jamboree will feature hundreds of crafts, plenty of delicious food; and lots of shade tree picking around the public square.
WJLE will broadcast most of the on-stage entertainment LIVE.