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‘Granddaddy of Midsouth Fiddlers Conventions’ opens this week

ATHENS — Thousands of visitors and musicians will make their way to Athens this week for the “Granddaddy of Midsouth Fiddlers Conventions.”

The three-day Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention returns Thursday to Athens State University.

To kick off the convention, Darin and Brooke Aldridge will perform 7 p.m. Thursday during a free preview night. The complimentary concert will take place on the main stage at Founders Hall.

Additional entertainment includes Balsam Range, set to perform at 5 p.m. Friday at Founders Hall.

Rhonda Vincent and The Rage will wrap up the entertainment portion of the convention with a performance at 5 p.m. Saturday at Founders Hall.

Along with the crowning of a new Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddle champion, the three-day event offers concerts, food vendors and arts and crafts on a theme of authentic workmanship while celebrating traditional old time music.

The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention attracts approximately 15,000 folk music fans. More than 200 musicians will be vying for some $47,000 in prize money in 19  categories, including several fiddle and guitar categories, mandolin, bluegrass, banjo, old time singing and Appalachian buck dancing.

The convention also includes food vendors and approximately 150 old-fashioned juried arts and crafts booths. The artisans offer items from traditional artwork to coal-fired metal works.

The convention ends Saturday when the new Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddle champion is announced.

Competition gets underway Friday at 7 p.m. and resumes Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Finals are  on the Founders Hall stage beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday

Cost of admission is $20 per adult each day Friday and Saturday or $25 per adult for a two-day pass. Children under 12 will be admitted free with a paid adult.

Click here to purchase tickets. Access to the two concerts is included with the purchase of an admission ticket.

In case of rain, the competition will be held in Carter Gymnasium with limited capacity.

Festivalgoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Pets and coolers are not allowed.

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