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Photo of young children playing fiddles on stage
Young Suzuki fiddler players performing on stage at the Festival, 1984

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Ole Time Fiddler's and Bluegrass Festival
A Local Legacy

Though they may not know it, the kids playing the fiddle in the photo are helping to preserve a tradition that began over 75 years ago.

Every year, families and musicians get together to play and listen at the Ole Time Fiddler's and Bluegrass Festival in North Carolina. They play in bluegrass bands and individual competitions. Musicians of all ages, even little children, may participate. Some of the tunes played are more than 100 years old.

The festival began in 1924 in the small rural community of Union Grove, Iredell County, North Carolina. Local teacher and musician H.P. Van Hoy and his wife, Ada, started the festival in order to raise money for school supplies. Back then it was called Van Hoy's Fiddlers Competition and half the money raised went to schools and the other half went to prizes for the competitors. It was so popular and grew so big that it had to move locations and it changed names.

Today, the festival helps preserve the tradition of old time and bluegrass music. Old time music is traditional or folk music played in rural areas of the South. Old time musicians usually play stringed instruments, such as the fiddle or banjo. Bluegrass grew out of old time music in the mid-20th century and is a kind of country music.

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