The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention is held annually on the campus of Athens State University, located in Athens, Ala. Also known as “Granddaddy of Midsouth Fiddlers Conventions,” the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention celebrated its 50th anniversary of honoring traditional old-time music in 2016.
During the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention, a new Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddle Champion is selected each year. Along with 15,000 visitors, the two-day event attracts more than 200 musicians who will be vying for over $18,000 in prize money in 18 different categories, including several fiddle and guitar categories, harmonica, mandolin, bluegrass banjo, dulcimer, old time singing, banjo, and buck dancing. The Convention culminates in a "fiddle-off," between the top two fiddlers. The winning fiddler is declared "Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddle Champion," and takes home a trophy and a $1,200 cash prize. Competition gets underway Friday at 7 p.m. and resumes Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
The convention also includes a variety of food vendors and approximately 150 old-fashioned arts and crafts booths offering an assortment of items from traditional artwork to coal-fired metal works.
Competitions are held on the steps of Founders Hall on the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Main Stage and the Brown Hall Stage. Gates open at 8 a.m. on Friday and at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. In event of rain, it will be held in the gymnasium with limited capacity. Pets and coolers are not allowed.