Fiddlers Bring Old-Time Music To Rim Country

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It's fiddle time in the pines. The 35th Annual Old-Time Fiddlers Championship is this weekend at Rumsey Park.

"This year the town is helping us with a tent for the audience," said Elaine Drorbaugh, who has been a part of the event's board of directors for 18 years.

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Fiddlers are the feature of the 35th Annual Arizona Old-Time Fiddlers Championship, but very talented musicians accompany the contestants in their presentations. The event is Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 and 25 at Payson's Rumsey Park, 328 N. McLane Road. Gates open at 9 a.m.

"People need to bring their own chairs," she said. "Last year we rented chairs, but only one person used one. Everyone else brought their own chairs or blankets to spread out on the grass."

The estimated 50 contestants will treat audiences to a competitive repertoire in 11 categories. Bill Breen will be master of ceremonies, Drorbaugh said.

Categories of competition include:

  • Small fry, contestants under 10
  • Junior-Junior, ages 10 to 12
  • Junior, ages 13-17
  • Young adult, ages 18 to 39
  • Adult, ages 40 to 64
  • Senior, 60 and older
  • Trick fiddling
  • Fancy fiddling
  • Best accompanist

"We expect to have a lot of young adult contestants this year," Drorbaugh said. "Sandra Schup, who has helped the board for several years, traveled around the state to music festivals to tell people about us and invited them to participate."

In addition to the competitive music, the Arizona Old Time Fiddlers will provide a gospel music program at 10 a.m. Sunday. The event will also feature food vendors and arts and crafts booths.

The festival has had a number of artists participate, who now record in Nashville.

The winner represents the state at the National Old time Fiddlers Contest, to be held in Weiser, Idaho.

Gates open at 9 a.m., Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 and 25. Admission is $7 per day for adults and $3 for children.

Rumsey Park is on McLane Road, north of Payson High School.

For more information, call (928) 925-5404 or the Payson Parks and Recreation Department, (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.

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