8-year-old contestant Hilda Quebe at the 1999 event
Athens Fiddlers Contest & Reunion
East Texas has been noted for its fiddlers since
the time of Davey Crockett and Sam Houston. The Athens Fiddlers
Contest and Reunion is devoted to the preservation of the style of
music that once brought courage to our starving troops at Valley
Forge, earned devoted admirers like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas
Jefferson, and today continues to delight millions. Begun in 1932
as a climax to a farmer's study course, the first fiddlers contest
in Bethel, Texas, attracted around 900 people who heard from
fourteen string bands. The next year, the civic leaders from the
city of Athens, Texas, conspired to lure the festival away from the
Bethel community with promises of bigger crowds and bigger prizes,
and, in 1933, they staged the fiddlers contest in Athens High
School. The following year, and ever since, the competition has
been held on the Henderson County Courthouse lawn in Athens.
The common bond for those who attend the celebration
has always been a love for fiddle music. On May 28th, 1999, a crowd
of hundreds spectators and almost ninety contestants, ranging in
age from 11 to well over 65, gathered on the lawn of the Henderson
County Courthouse for the 68th Annual Fiddlers Contest and Reunion.
The competition is broken down into five divisions, and five prizes
are awarded in each divisions. Competitors are scrutinized for
their bowing techniques, tempo, tune and, most importantly, the how
closely their sound approximates old-time fiddle music.
The project is documented by six-page report, nine
photo prints, four digital photos, a poster, program flyer,
brochure, and an entry form announcing the divisions and
Originally submitted by: Pete Sessions, Representative (5th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.