Old-Time Fiddlers Contest Takes Center Stage

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The old Fiddler's Festival has a new name.

The 37-year-old celebration is now called the Vertielee Floyd Memorial Old Time Fiddlers Contest Arizona State Championship.

The contest will be Saturday, Sept. 29 and Sunday, Sept. 30 at the Houston Mesa Horse Camp, across the street from the Houston Mesa Camp Ground on the north end of Payson.

Nearly 40 fiddlers from all over the state are expected to compete.

The event is being dedicated to the memory of Brielle Boisvert, a young fiddler who placed second in the Small Fry division last year and was killed in an accident this year.

The contest features many different divisions including: Small Fry for ages 3-9; Junior-Junior for ages 10-12; Junior for ages 13-17; Young Adult for ages 18-39; Adult for ages 40-64; Senior for those 65 and older; plus Trick Fiddling, Fancy Fiddling, Twin Fiddling and Cross-tuned Fiddling.

The highlight of the contest is the Championship division, which made up of the top 18 from the age divisions.

The festival was founded in 1970 by a group of citizens, most of whom didn't even play the fiddle.

It is the oldest two-day show of its type in Arizona and the final winner is recognized as the year's Arizona State Champion Old Time Fiddler.

The Payson contest is certified by the National Old Time Fiddle Contest in Weiser, Idaho, and is considered to be the official fiddle contest for the State of Arizona.

Jam sessions and other types of entertainment are also part of this event.

The Optimist Club will provide the food for the festivities and the Student Nurse Association of Gila Community College will sell water.

The gates open at 9 a.m. each day. Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children per day, under 5 will be admitted free.

There is a gospel hour on Sunday that is free to everyone. This contest is put on by the Payson Fiddlers Committee and co-sponsored by the Town of Payson.

There is no food, coolers, or pets allowed to enter the contest area. We will be allowing one sealed bottle of water per person.

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