Jul. 8, 2016
62. Old Time Fiddlers' Contest
Who knew you could drive to a small town in Idaho and hear some of the most fantastic fiddle playing ever?! I didn't....that is until I got to Weiser's Old Time Fiddler's Contest. Not only was the music awe inspiring, but the dancing was truly incredible. I watched six year olds tap across the stage with rhythm and grace, and high school kids swing dancing with style. The crowd sat around in lawn chairs and in bleachers enjoying the music and the show. This is a national contest where fiddlers come from all over the country to compete. The festival contains fiddlers, bluegrass bands, dancers, workshops, a carnival and a parade (on Saturday). After the parade they have a battle of the bluegrass bands. To say the least, you can't beat the show!
History: In 1953 the first Northwest Mountain Fiddlers Contest was organized by Blaine Stubblefield who worked for the Weiser Chamber of Commerce. In 1963 it was renamed the National Old Time Fiddlers' Contest. The contest has grown to include the battle of the bands, a parade, and some over the best fiddlers in the nation attend every year.
Location: The contest is held in Weiser, Idaho approximately 72 miles west of Boise. From Boise take I-84 approximately 46 miles west to US-95 Exit 3 toward Fruitland/Payette. Take US-95 for approximately 20 miles and it will lead you straight into Weiser. Signs will direct you to the festival. There is entertainment at Bluegrass Village City Park during the day and in the evening the Fiddlers' Contest is held in the Weiser High School Gymnasium.
Dates: The festival is held the third full week of June every year. The festivities begin at noon Tuesday-Saturday and run late into the evening.
Cost: There is no cost of admission to the City Park events and tickets into the Fiddling Contest are $5-$10. You can buy them online at www.fiddlecontest.org. Contestants can register on the same site.
Special Notes: Definitely kid friendly and pets are welcome in the park. The Carnival offers many different rides and the carnival food is great. I had a Pickle Dog (OMG....so good!)...basically a hotdog inside of a pickle and deep fried like a corndog. Yummy!
There is no admission into the park, but they do sell raffle tickets and take donations to keep the fesival going each year. The fire department does a 'Hose Show' after the parade. Everyone in the audience gets sprayed and its a great way to cool off on a hot June day.
I'm glad I found my way out to Weiser! It was a fun day full of entertainment and great food. Hope to see you there next year!