The Arizona State Fiddlers' Contest will be held in Payson this weekend at the Payson Event Center. This year's theme is Celebrate the Music of our American Heritage.
This event has a deep history in Payson dating back to 1974. Not much has changed except for some of the names of the contestants.
Vertielee Floyd, director and founder of the event, expects up to 60 contestants of all ages including the "small fry" division for fiddlers age 3-9.
The contest promises to be a knee slapping, foot-tapping, hand-clapping good time for spectators who enjoy professional fiddling whether it be a waltz, reel, jig or hoedown.
Gates open at 9 a.m. with opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. Saturday. Sunday the gates will open at 9 a.m. followed by a gospel program at 10 and opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for youth age 6-16. Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for arena seating. Pets are not allowed in the event center.
Saturday evening there will be a patriotic concert beginning at 6 p.m. There is no charge, however, it is a benefit for the Red Cross who will be on hand accepting donations for their Disaster Relief Fund.
The concert will feature, among others, singer Rebekah Sandovol, 13, a Rim Country Middle School student who will be accompanied by her father Roy on the guitar.
Bob Crose, champion senior fiddler from Pine will play "God Bless America" as it is sung by his niece Angela Godac.
Mickey Long, last year's state senior champion fiddler will be accompanied by her husband Norm as she plays "Up Went The Flag." The Longs have been competing in Payson for the last 27 years. The evening will climax with a 21 fiddle salute to America by all the musicians who will play the tune "Liberty."