The Minnesota State Old Time Fiddle Championships, in their 9th year at Mountain Iron’s Merritt School Auditorium, will take place Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021 starting at noon. 

This tradition began 40 years ago in Cotton but took a year off last year due to COVID. The contest is open to all US and Canadian fiddlers as well as all other stringed instrumentalists. The championship division is certified by the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Association, so our State Champion will qualify to compete at the National Old Time Fiddle Championships at Weiser, Idaho. There are cash and prizes for the top four fiddlers in four different age divisions. The non-fiddle and Twin Fiddle divisions are open to all ages and all stringed instruments. Rules, pre-registration forms, and contact information can be found online at  www.mesabisymphonyorchestra.org/FiddleContest. 

Contestants must register between 10-11 a.m. on Aug. 14, with judges meeting at 11:30 a.m. The show starts at noon and all contestants will be playing a waltz, a hoedown, and a tune of choice. The show is open to the public for the modest fee of $10. Judges will entertain the audience before they are sequestered offstage.

This year’s judges are Gloria Schoening of Milaca, Alita Weisgerber of St. Peter, and Alex Sharps of California. For contestants who don’t bring their own back-up accompanist, there will be Tom Weisgerber on guitar.

These activities are made possible in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature’s general and arts and cultural heritage funds, and in part by a grant from Minnesota State Fiddlers Association.

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