FIDDLE

The 91st Annual Old Fiddlers Reunion is set for Friday and Saturday, May 27 and 28. Continuing this historical tradition has been important to our community.

The Friday night kick-off begins with a Classic Car Show at 6 p.m. and ends with a street dance from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. with master of Honky-Tonk and Athens native, Jake Penrod & His Million Dollar Cowboys.

Saturday’s fiddle contest will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. followed by our Saturday night street dance with Amber Digby & Midnite Flyers from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Grab your chair and come early to save your spot as they always fill the dance floor on every song.

The all ages fiddle contest will be broken down into seven divisions with more than $5,000 in prize money at stake, so set up your chairs on the courthouse lawn and get ready for some great music.

There will be wonderful food vendors around the square, with everything you need for a great day! Be sure and stop by the merchandise table for your official Athens Old Fiddlers t-shirt!

The carnival will be in town Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in the city parking lot behind The Texan. Tickets are $1 each, or purchase a $25 wristband for unlimited rides. Hours are Thursday and Friday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday noon - midnight.

Athens Farmers Market will be joining the festivities on West Tyler Street beside the Henderson County Annex from 9 a..m to 3 p.m.

This year, The Texan will be host to additional vendors as well as a Chili Cookoff from 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. If you would like to be a vendor in The Texan, contact Whitney or Camille at texaninfo@athenstx.gov.

All music is free so bring your lawn chairs and arrive early to get a good spot. Call 903-681-5185 for more information.

The entire community is getting involved for this year’s Reunion.

211 Gallery, located just a block north from the competition, will be hosting a Canvas & Cork painting session from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Registration will be required so stay tuned for more details.

The East Texas Arboretum will be displaying one hundred or more wooden fiddles painted by the community and supporters of the Arboretum. They will be on display the entire week of Fiddlers Reunion.

Be a part of fiddlin’ and fishin’! Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center will be offering free admission to anyone who brings their fiddles to jam. So, come to fiddle or fish! Hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For all you fiddle fans and boot scooters who want to make a weekend out of it, there are many lodging options in the area. For registered contestants only, Super 8 is offering a special fiddler’s rate, so make sure to call their office at 903-675-7511.

The Athens Old Fiddlers Reunion committee consists of a non-profit organization, Fiddles on Wheels founders Sherry McKenzie and Cindy Roberts; Traci Wilkes, founder of East Texas Independent Business Alliance and owner of Reigning Jewels; Camille Barnes, CCB Events & Smoky B’s BBQ; Kristin Willingham, Director of The Athens Chamber of Commerce; and Mary Ensign, as she continues to mentor our committee.

Fiddles on Wheels wrote, “Our nonprofit has been helping with the Athens Old Fiddlers Reunion the past few years and we quickly realized that it would take a team of people to fill Mary Ensign's shoes!”

“We have found that working together with the City of Athens, Camille Barnes, Kristin Willingham, Traci Wilkes and local sponsors, Old Fiddlers is a perfect partner for our nonprofit to help ensure the tradition of a free, fun, festive, fiddle-flavored weekend on the courthouse square.”

The committee would like to thank this year’s sponsors for their support: Fiddles on Wheels, Republic Services, City of Athens, Visit Athens, Reigning Jewels, The Texan, Morton Small Animal Clinic, Trinity Valley Community College, East Texas Independent Business Alliance, Athens Daily Review, First State Bank, KCKL, KLVQ, Bacon Auto, Athens Screen Printing, and Hope Springs Water. If you are interested in being added to this list, contact Traci Wilkes at 903-681-5185 or email athensoldfiddlersreunion@gmail.com.

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