BOONVILLE, Ind. — Look for music students as young as 4 and 5 and amateur and professional players as old as 80 to perform in the 35th annual Indiana State Picking & Fiddling Championships this weekend in Boonville.
The event, which will begin at 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, running all day at the Warrick County Fairgrounds, will bring contestants from five states competing for more than $6,000 in prizes, says Vi Wickham, the competition’s director.
The event moves from county to county each year, traveling with the annual Labor Day Celebration hosted in recent years in Pike, Gibson and Warrick counties, said Wickham, Colorado native and fiddler who came to the University of Evansville in 1995 to earn a computer engineering degree. He played and taught music and operated a computer business here until 9 months ago, when he moved to Fort Collins, Colo.
“I’m going to continue to be involved with the Indiana state fiddle contest for as long as they want me back,” he said.
“The idea is to have a great time,” said Wickham. He first took part in the event as a competitor, later as a judge. “Lots of jamming takes place in the parking lot and after the event at the hotels. We get together and enjoy each other’s company, sharpen our skills and really preserve the love of traditional music.”
That’s important, he added. “This is a way for kids to be exposed to the music, because they’re not going to hear it on the radio or see it on TV. This is really important for preserving our heritage.”
The annual Labor Day celebration will run through Monday. For more information on the musical competition, visit www.indianastatefiddle.org online.
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Thanks to Roger McBain for writing this article on the Picking and Fiddling Contest!