What first began in 1983 with a budget of $300, a borrowed hay wagon, homemade food, and some of the finest fiddling, has now grown to an average of 3,000 music lovers.

The 33rd annual Lyons Fiddle Festival will be held Sept. 18 at 15 Park Avenue, Lyons, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The rain date is Sunday, Sept. 25.

“The bands and artists that perform at the Lyons Fiddle Festival are some of the best musical talent in the Americana music scene. Every year we strive to bring in new and established artists from the Berks County area and the national music scene. This year we have performers from Reading, Lancaster, Virginia, and North Carolina on our stage doing traditional bluegrass to country to modern bluegrass, solo artists and bands,” said Larry Ross, stage manager/bookings.

This year’s fine fiddling entertainment includes Crow Hill, Steve Barr Trio, Victoria Lee and New Ground, Remington Ryde, Matthew Bailey, and Haley Sheeler in partnership with Dave Kline.

Fiddlers of all ages will be competing on-stage for the title of Grand Champion. Winners from each division will receive a trophy pottery piece crafted by local artist, Chelsea Wessner, Lazy Leaf Pottery, Kutztown.

“The designs are done by hand using a technique called slip trailing, a technique often seen on PA Dutch red ware in our area,” said Wessner.

Wessner graduated from Kutztown University with a degree in art education and a minor in crafts. Her concentration in both degrees was with ceramics.

Attendees also enjoy impromptu jamming sessions under the cool shade trees in the park whether they are listening, playing, singing or dancing a jig. From fiddles to guitars, to even home-constructed instruments, it doesn’t matter what you have or how much experience you have. What matters is the good times and friendships formed.

Part of the Festival’s grassroots includes homemade soups and baked goods as well as artisan crafters. This year’s annual quilt raffle features the twinkling star pattern in burgundy and brown. Quilts are an American tradition since the 1700s. Besides the quilt raffle the festival committee voted to expand and go bigger. There will be a new raffle for a 15M Martin Guitar (valued at $1,800) that was handmade in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The guitar was constructed in the Martin tradition of solid mahogany with a rich satin finish.

The Lyons Fiddle Festival is a non-profit organization run totally with the help of volunteers. Profits from the Festival benefit community activities and help to maintain the park for children.

Admission is a $5 donation. Children 5 and under are free. Donations for parking are greatly appreciated. Parking donations benefit the Kutztown Hobos: Helping Others Before Ourselves and the Lyons Fire Company Truck Crew. Sen. Judy Schwank will give remarks during the opening ceremonies.

For more information about the Lyons Fiddle Festival, go to http://lyonsfiddle.com/artists.html.

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