Registrations, camp reservations up for 2023 Fiddle Contest

Members of the Banjo Calamities, Brett Carpenter, back, and Mike Murray, front, install a combination air conditioning and heating unit at Slocum Hall in preparation of the 70th annual National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest and Festival slated for June.
Nancy Grindstaff
In a matter of weeks, this little rural Idaho town will once again take on the title of the Fiddle Capital of the World with musicians and fans arriving for the 70th anniversary of the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest and Festival, June 19-24.
 The contest’s planners have announced competition pre-registration numbers, along with camping reservations in Fiddletown, have increased significantly so far this year.
 “We are thrilled to see such a positive response to this year’s National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest,” said the event organizers. “The increase in early registration numbers is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved in organizing the event and the support of the community of Weiser. We are looking forward to welcoming fiddlers and visitors from all over the country to Weiser and making this year’s contest and festival one to remember.
 “Fiddletown is known for its atmosphere and music all day and all night, making it a popular destination for musicians and fans from all over the country,” they added. “The contest is an opportunity for fiddlers of all ages to showcase their talents, and these early registration numbers suggest that this year’s competition will be as fierce as ever.” 
“I am so excited to see so many new contestants registering for the contest,” NOTFC Co-Chair Cindy Campbell said. “I would estimate that of those registered right now probably 25 percent have never been to Weiser before.”
Weiser, Welcome Home
 Over the years the “third full week of June” has become a perennial homecoming for generations of fiddle contestants, accompanists, and musicians who come just for the “jam,” so the chosen “Weiser, Welcome Home” parade theme might just hit the right chord for the entire week and a-half. 
All campgrounds open early
 Weiser Week has expanded over time to include as many as five additional days leading up to the fiddle contest’s opening day, where folks show up to play music day and night, as well as catch up with old friends and acquaintances.
 Fiddletown, Slocum, and Snake River Heritage Center campgrounds will all open Wednesday, June 14, with Stickerville on track to open Thursday, June 15. 
Banjos all day Sunday, June 18
 The Idaho Bluegrass Association is once again organizing the annual Banjo Contest, starting with intermediate competition at noon on Sunday, June 18, in the Snake River Heritage Center auditorium followed by the advanced division at 2 p.m.
 The event will move to an outdoor stage in front of Slocum Hall at 6 p.m. for the Banjo-Fiddle contest and Famous Pie Auction.
 The Banjo Contest was added as a feature of Fiddle Week around 10 years ago as a fun and enduring opportunity for banjo players of all levels and styles to share their talents.
 The Idaho Bluegrass Association will also host Bluegrass in the Park at the Festival in City Park on Tuesday, June 20, from 5-9 p.m., featuring some of Idaho’s best bluegrass bands. The park venue will open daily at 10 a.m. from Tuesday, June 20 through Saturday, June 24, featuring a lineup of food and craft vendors. Free stage entertainment begins at noon and will run until closing at 10 p.m.
Upgrades added to Slocum Hall 
 Since taking ownership in 2013 of Slocum Hall, located on the historic Intermountain Institute campus, the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest non-profit has accomplished one upgrade after another to the building through volunteer sweat-equity and grant funding from numerous sources.
 Members of the Banjo Calamities from all over the state have invested countless hours in restoring and refurbishing 18-20 rooms in the upper two floors of the building. 
 The spacious and comfortable rooms are nicely furnished and have been usable for at least the past couple of years. If you made the connection between the Banjo Calamities, the Idaho Bluegrass Association and the Banjo Contest, then you are on the right road. 
 On a weekend last month, after an evening of playing and jamming, because that always comes first, the Calamities went to work installing combination air conditioning and heating units in six of the rooms. As funding becomes available through grants, donations, and sponsorships, every room will have a unit. 
 Fiddle Contest and Festival Director Sandra Cooper said all the rooms in Slocum are reserved for this year’s Fiddle Week, with many of them spoken for year over year. 
 “As a non-profit, the building can only operate for educational purposes, such as art, folk art, or music retreats or workshops,” Cooper said.  
 “Anything that has an educational side to it, and the air conditioning and heater units make it perfect for any time of year.” 
 The building also serves the Weiser School District during the school year as the educational center for Indianhead Academy Alternative High School. 



Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718

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