On Feb. 10, Appalachian State will officially celebrate the 10th Annual Old-Time Fiddlers Convention in the Plemmons Student Union. For nine years, Appalachian has celebrated the traditional sound of the mountains through an event that invites local musicians, artisans and vendors to Appalachian State in the valley. On Feb. 10, the convention will begin at 10 a.m. and end around 5 p.m.
The convention will be kicked off the night before on Feb. 9 by celebrating with a dance held at Legends nightclub featuring local singer-songwriters from Raleigh: Kate Rhudy performing with Ellis Dyson & the Shambles from 8-11 p.m.
The event, which is completely student operated and funded, will be sponsored by the Appalachian Popular Programming Society’s Appalachian Heritage Council.
The Appalachian Heritage Council is dedicated to enriching students and expanding their knowledge through entertainment that is focused on the historical traditions of the Appalachian region. Students can also engage in other events that are hosted by the Appalachian Heritage Council such as contra dances, square dances, live bands and even hear from Appalachian storytellers.
Last year, the convention welcomed over 400 guests who came from over eight states, all of which were able to experience some of the traditions that the Appalachian community is known for.
This year, according to the Appalachian Heritage Council, “There will be performance competitions from young children to adults, varying in talent, flatfoot dancing, of fiddles, banjos, guitar, vocalists and more.”
For some students who are concerned about spending their money, the council said, “The event is completely free to attend. However, there will be a handmade market featuring vendors from across the state selling their handmade goods, as well as some instruments for purchase from luthiers. It is possible to come to the event and spend no money at all, even though the market can be very tempting.”
Local merchants will be selling their goods in the International Hallway that connects The University Bookstore and Cascades Café. With Valentine’s Day coming up, attendees may be able to use this opportunity to find that perfect gift for that perfect someone, or for themselves.
While some indulge themselves by picking up various local goodies, others can surround themselves with the time-honored sound of our community in the Summit Trail Solarium.
According to the Appalachian Heritage Council, “Typically it is one of the largest events hosted by APPS, and it connects our campus to our surrounding community. Participants travel from surrounding states to compete, hang out and jam with each other.”
Krystal Carter, a junior history major and member of the Appalachian Heritage Council said, “Last year was my first year [attending the convention]. Everything about it made me so happy, from the music and competitors to the local vendors. I’m excited for the convention and seeing the students learn about the culture of this region. I am also excited to see the different instrument competitions that will be going on. Fiddlers convention has been one of my favorite experiences since I’ve been at App.”
Carter was so moved by the convention that she became a member of APPS’ Appalachian Heritage Council soon after.
“I love everything about Fiddler’s Convention,” Carter said. “It’s such a huge part of this region’s history with the music and crafts.”
John Broom, a senior history major, is excited about visiting the convention for the third year in a row.
“Every year, I experience something new and find out something different about the Appalachian region that I never knew before,” Broom said. “Being a history major, I am obviously crazy about learning new things, especially if it has to do with the area that I live in. And in this way, I can see history in action by listening to the musicians and watching the luthiers.”
Camille Rivera, a transfer student from Puerto Rico, said she is looking forward to going to the convention in order to learn more about her new home in the mountains.
“My family back in Puerto Rico lived in the mountains and now that I am experiencing a new life here at Appalachian, I can really get to know it from a history standpoint,” Rivera said. “The community here is very different from that of where I used to live. So although I am scared to start this new path in my life, I am extremely excited to go to the convention to gain some perspective and learn about what gives this area its charm.”
Story by: Savannah Nguyen, A&E Reporter
Graphic by: Nora Smith, Graphics Editor