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Expo hosts fiddlers String Fling over the weekend

January 22, 2002|By JENNIFER RALTON-SMITH, Staff Writer

While some music styles enjoy a brief popularity, old time fiddle music has a long and proud history in the U.S.

Here in the Imperial Valley, devotees of this musical genre are working hard, for the third consecutive year, to ensure their particular passion reaches as wide an audience as possible.

Coordinated by the California Old Time Fiddlers District 14, the String Fling 2002 Old Time Fiddle Contest will be Friday and Saturday at the Imperial Valley Expo in Imperial.

Contest manager Lyn Neal of El Centro says there will be upward of 45 contestants vying for prizes in a range of categories.

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"Contestants will be coming in from all over the U.S. and even from Canada," Neal said.

The contest follows rules of the National Old Time Fiddlers Association and there are some intriguing categories on the schedule. One of those is the "band scramble" where contestants throw their names in a hat and the "winners" are expected to quickly form into temporary bands and give impromptu performances.

If you think this type of music has a limited age appeal, then think again.

Neal says there will be children younger than 8 years old competing, and one competitor from Washington state is 94 years old and in Neal's words is "one of our best fiddlers."

According to Neal, 12 children from the Imperial Valley have signed up to compete this year.

Neal is excited about a newly added contest category — the "Show Your Stuff" talent show, which starts at 8:15 p.m. Friday.

The talent show will be judged by Doug Moore, a nationally renowned banjo player who hails from the Imperial Valley. The contest is open to anyone who plays acoustic/old-style music and would like to participate. You can register for the talent show from 2 p.m. Friday until right before the contest gets under way.

Entrants will be required to play three numbers and there is a first prize of $100.

String Fling is sponsored in part by the Imperial County Arts Council and has received additional funding from the Imperial Irrigation District.

The Mostly Theater Company will be raising funds for their activities by catering the event.

Admission is free and the first event kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

For further information contact Neal at 352-6362 or Ineal@thegrid.net

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