WEISER — While the official contest start is still a week away, local residents will start to see traffic heading to Weiser this week for the National Oldtime Fiddler’s Contest and Festival, as campgrounds open today. Those campgrounds — Slocum, Snake River Heritgae Museum and Billingsley Gym — are near the Weiser High School, where the contest takes place inside the gymnasium. Fiddletown, which is the campground adjacent to the high school on Paddock Avenue, will open on Saturday.
Memorial Park, between east Third and Fourth Streets, will be open June 22-26 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and will be home to food, craft and merchandise vendors, as well as the free entertainment stage, which will feature performers and local talent, from noon to closing.
“We have been truly privileged over the years to have had several future and current Grammy Award Winners performing on our park stage,” reads information on the website.
On Thursday, there will be a Kids Day featuring activities for all ages, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in downtown Weiser.
And the festival will up on June 26 with a parade, which starts at 11 a.m. on the final day. This year’s theme is “Together Again.” Parade entrants must turn in applications by June 25, by delivering, emailing or mailing them to the National Oldtime Fiddlers Office.
Contest structure changes
In addition to not being able to host workshops this year, due to COVID-19, attendees will see some new changes to the contest structure. This year will be a ‘hybrid’ event offered on live stream on Youtube and the festival’s Facebook page.
This way, competitors can participate live in Weiser or from a remote location of their choice. In addition, there will be limited seating for the audience.
Those who watch the live streaming events, will be asked to make a donation to help offset the cost of not having general ticket sales available.
For those who would like to attend in person at Weiser High School, there are two options.
The “fan club,” which enables friends and family members to cheer on performers.
Up to 10 fans will be allowed to enter and leave the stage with their respective performer.
Additionally, a limited number of VIP passes will be available to watch the contest in the auditorium. Resources are not available to sanitize seats each night, according to the application for VIP seating.
As such, there will be pre-assigned seats throughout the entire event.
The contest gets underway June 23-26, with events kicking off at 8 a.m. Wednesday thru Friday and on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. While the schedule is subject to change, following is the current schedule.
• 8 to 10:15 a.m.: Small Fry Round 1
• 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Junior Junior — Round 1
• 2:45 to 3:45 p.m.: Small Fry Round 2
• 4 to 5 p.m.: Junior Junior — Round 2
• 7 to 8:45 p.m. Judges, Youngest Fiddler, Small Fry Round 3, Junior Junior Round 3, Special of 4 Certified Showcase people, announcement of awards for Small Fry and Junior Junior
• 8 to 9:50 a.m.: Senior Round 1
• 10:10 a.m. to 11:55 a.m. Senior Senior Round 1
• 1 to 1:45 p.m.: Senior Round 2
• 1 to 4 p.m.: Adult Round 1
• 4:15 to 5 p.m.: Senior Senior Round 2
• 7 to 10:30 p.m.: Judges, Oldest Fiddler, Adult Round 2, Special of 4 Certified Showcase people, Senior Senior Round 3, Adult Round 3, Special of 4 Certified Showcase people, announcement of awards in Senior, Senior Senior and Adult divisions
• 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: Junior Round 1
• 1 to 3:45 p.m.: Young Adult Round 1
• 4 to 5 p.m.: Junior Round 2
• 7 to 10:30 p.m.: Judges, Young Adult Round 2, Special of 4 Certified Showcase people, Junior Round 3, Special, Young Adult Round 3, Special, Announcement of Awards Junior and Young Adult
June 26: 6:30 to 10:15 p.m.: Judges, Grand National Round 1, Special, Grand National Round 2, Special, Grand National Round 3, Special, Announcement of Awards Accompanist and Grand Champion Division