JEFFERSON — The plucking, strumming and fiddling of Appalachian instruments will fill Ashe County Park during the 50th annual Ashe County Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddlers Convention Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 25, 26 and 27, according to the Ashe County Arts Council.

“The Fiddlers Convention is a celebration and showcase of the musical talent and heritage of the High Country of North Carolina,” Ashe Arts Program Director Rebecca Williams said in a press release. “Come enjoy the music and see the region’s best old time traditional and bluegrass musicians.”

According to Williams, the convention will feature a jamming workshop from 3-7 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday with Gilbert Nelson, whose Wernick Method class teaches hands-on jam techniques, including bluegrass standards, etiquette of typical jams, plus how to play in and enjoy an open jam session.

Register for the workshop at letspick.org, or call (336) 846-2787. The registration fee includes the workshop, Friday lunch and admission to the Fiddlers Convention, according to Williams.

Friday night, Appalachian Barn Dance with band Trish Kilby Fore and the Dixie Wildcats will perform at the Lakeview Shelter in Ashe Park at 7 p.m. Dance caller John Turner will be calling reels, big circles, four couple figures and more, providing a good dancing opportunity for all ages and levels of experience, Williams said. Admission is $5 per person, and children under 12 are free with an accompanying adult.

On Saturday, The Gary Poe Bluegrass and Old Time Radio Show will broadcast live on WKSK at the park stage, with The Dollar Brothers as special guests, Williams said.

As for the annual competitive aspect of the Fiddlers Convention, the youth competition starts at noon Saturday. Adult individual instruments start at 2 p.m., while dance competitions start at 6 p.m. and band competitions begin at 7:30 p.m., according to Williams.

Youth award presentations will be at 7 p.m., whereas adult individual and band competitions awards will be given out Saturday evening after the band competitions, Williams said.

Banjo master Terry Baucom will host an open jam from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, welcoming all skill levels, players and instruments, according to Williams.

On-site camping is available on a first come, first served basis starting Wednesday, July 24. Camping fees vary, and are not included in convention admission ticket, Williams said.

Saturday concessions are sponsored by the Todd Ruritan Club, and the offerings include pork barbeque sandwiches and plates, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, desserts, soft drinks, coffee and water. Friday night there will be soft drinks and snacks provided by the St. Francis Catholic Church Women’s group, according to Williams.

“Again this year there will be an arts and crafts area highlighting area luthiers and heritage crafts,” Williams said. “The Farm Museum will be open throughout the day on Saturday.”

Musicians will register the day of the competition, and performance slots will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, featuring cash prizes for winners in the adult categories, according to Williams. Full competition rules, schedules, and awards can be found at www.ashefiddlersconvention.org.

“The Fiddlers Convention would like to thank the sponsors Scott Harris Guitar Shop, AEV, Ashe Civic Center, Tim Rector Family Dentistry, Dr. Charles Jones, Ashe County Cheese, Bojangles, RDW Law Firm, 580 WKSK, Badgers Funeral Home, BREMCO, Greenhouse Crafts, H & W Oil Company, LifeStore, Mountain Aire Golf Course, Nation’s Inn, Parker Tie, Perry’s Gold Mine, Skyline, United Chemi-Con and more,” Williams said.

Admission to the 50th annual Ashe County Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddlers Convention is $5 for Friday only, $10 for Saturday only, or $15 for both. Tickets can be purchased on site or by calling the Ashe County Arts Council at (336) 846-2787.

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