While 599 billion and some odd earth dwellers around the globe were attending, watching, or otherwise participating in the 8-8-8 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremonies, the other eight or nine hundred of us were, of course, at the National Galax Fiddler’s Convention.
It was a site to behold. All manner of fiddlers, bass players, and other pickin’ folk were doing their thing, one right after another for DAYS on end. HOURS on days on end. And we somehow found ourselves honored guests, due to our affiliation with Grand & Gdaddy, who gave the opening prayer on Mundee niight. We were blessed with preferred parking as well as a row of 8 saved lawn chairs put out early in the day with a very great view.
Now…these were talented and fun-loving folk, to be sure. I could actually see how this would be an enjoyable way for folks to come from miles around, camp and spend the ENtire 2nd week of August each year. Every song seemed to have the tempo and instrument ensemble from the Beverly Hillbilly’s theme. (You got it in mind? Are you humming it yet? I’ll wait….) Also every song fit the lyrics to “There ain’t no bugs on me, on me” you know, that flea collar commercial, which was delightfully fun for all! Not one person was not a-bobbin’ their head or a-tappin’ their knee.
There were wooden platforms down front near the stage for all manner of flat foot dancin’ and the occasional air-banjo. You could pick out right away the kids who were born & partial-raised “up north” since all four of them somehow found a way to do Will Smith’s Fresh Prince “Apache: Jump on It” dance instead of the clogging style moves that were way more prevalent, not to mention appropriate at this particular function.
They stuck out, some might say, “like a sore thumb with the nail plumb tore off.”
After a few numbers entitled Boil the Cabbage Down and Drunk Ol’ Hen, we went wander’n-roun’ to hear the various non-staged people pickin’ and a-grinnin’ outside their various RVs. We saw a guy with a waxed and curled mustachio. We saw all manner of bolero ties and cowboy boots. I saw a shirt that said:
I’ve been a bad cowboy…
Send me to your room.
Bless his heart. I could write for days describing more of the sweet and interesting folks there in downtown Galax making a night of the Fiddler’s Festival. Suffice it to say, there was a lot to see besides the fiddlin’ but never have I ever been in such a well-mannered and quiet crowd. Truly! There was very little talking…only in hushed whispers so that everyone could enjoy the music. Huhm. SOooo not your average Music in the Park.
When our tummies got to rumblin’, We got the most ginormous 20 oz. cup of sweet tea, a bloomin’ onion, and hot dogs all around. Mine ended up with some not-ordered but appreciated nonetheless onions which were enjoyed by me, not so much by those nearby my breath, though shortly afterwards we warshed it down with a funnel cake, happily sharing and sprinkling powdered sugar all down our fronts.
There’ll be another Olympics in 2012. And there’s constant highlights on NBC, CNBC, ESPN and YouTube. But there’s only one Fiddler’s Festival with Grammaws & and Grampaws, adults and chilluns’, the buzzed and the sober and a host of others all enjoying the same old time mountain music with campers and RVs as far as the eye can see. That was our chosen ceremony and we loved ever’ minnit uvit.