Fiddling - the blog

Trip Start Mar 23, 2009
Trip End Jul 23, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Virginia
Saturday, June 20, 2009

There are quite a few little videos in this blog, but we can't place them at the relevant places in the text, which is a shame, however do click on them it'll seem as if you were there too! (if you really were, the sound would have been better) Don't view as a slideshow as that doesn't allow you to start the videos (do that next time when you view again).

It seems that by travelling in the summer months we get to do lots of extra things, when we called into the visitors bureau we had picked up a list of events in and around Lexington – here’s one item on the list that caught our eye; The Beuna Vista Fiddlers Convention we felt it was a must., especially as it featured 'flatfooting’ – no we didn’t have a clue either!. So on Saturday (20th) armed with a picnic and our chairs we headed for Maury Park where it was being held. There is a campsite there right by the river, but as it’s only 20 mins from our site there didn’t seem any point in moving. Probably just as well, because when we arrived the campsite was full, turns out this is quite an event and although most of the people there were from Virginia, there were a few from the Carolinas and I saw a few stray plates, Maryland and NY for example. The convention had actually started on Thursday evening with registration; "Blue grass individual contestants first 45 to sign up only to perform" gives you some idea of the size of this thing. The children’s competitions and some of the other classes like Blue Grass bands and Old Time bands had taken place on Friday evening and Saturday morning. The stage was at the end of a large open pavilion in the park; thankfully it meant we could all sit in the shade. The flat footing was just starting as we arrived, some of you who have been following us a while may remember when we were in Bryson City on the Blue Ridge Parkway last Sept and we happened upon a band playing on the platform of the railway station, when lots of people got up and kind of ‘jigged’, well here we are again. So that’s called flatfooting… only this time it’s a competition, so you have to get up on stage by yourself and ‘flatfoot’ in front of the crowd and the judges. All day there were people like us, mum’s dad’s, teens, uncles etc - well no that’s not strictly true, because these were mostly people with astonishing musical talent – dancing, singing, playing instruments, some unfamiliar us, in front of an audience. (There are lots of video clips in the album) Many contestants entered more than one class. The atmosphere was brilliant; everyone was having a great time. Some bands were made up of families; some contestants had clearly been doing this for many years. Well, singing and playing for their own enjoyment with family and friends, it is obviously a major part of life here in the mountains. Here they were today, getting together to enjoy each others company and talents. Where else could you find categories such as, ‘under 9’s blue grass instrumental’ –  Or ‘banjo – claw hammer class’ still not sure about that one! Hang on …  ain’t the interweb brilliant?

We wished we’d seen some of the children’s entries because we’d obviously missed some real good stuff. There were ‘host bands too,  Hound Dog Hill, with lead banjo Cutch Tuttle (no not a made up name!) were great.

There were a few vendors outside the pavilion, the one that took our interest was selling the most beautiful instruments, but not only that…take a look at this…(the clip is in the album - if you only look at one clip make it this one!)
I think you’ll agree it’s pretty ‘awesome’.


Well we stayed well into the evening, by which time some local deer had come to join us and the fireflies were glowing, but we left before the 11pm end. It had been one of those experiences that made you wish you had just a little dusting of that talent, just a little bit would do.

Our last visit in this area was to the Natural Bridge and Caverns, features which the locals are fiercely proud of. We had seen pictures of the bridge in the promotional material; we had even driven over it as it carries the main road, but nothing had prepared us for its immensity  It literally dwarfs you as you stand beneath it, higher than Niagara Falls.


You will see from the link that there are other things to do, we walked the cedar creek trail and found the Indian village really interesting and as far as we could tell very authentic. The ‘squaw’ told us about the diet of the Monacan Indians who had lived in this area and how once they began to catch the turtles they had ‘bowls’ to use for stews. They had a very varied diet, using many local plants, berries nuts and fruits and small game. We returned in the evening for the Creation light show; I think Malc summed this up perfectly…it was the most unspectacular thing we have seen so far…sorry Natural Bridge & Co.

There are lots of caverns in the locality, as the lady in the visitor centre had said you can go to the deepest, ours here at the Bridge or you can go to the ‘flashiest’. Well we went for deep and deep they were 35 stories down with the obligatory turning off of all the lights whilst we were down there.

We also managed the Wax works, we did these as a bit of an afterthought, but actually it was well worth it. Oh and the toy museum too, here’s the evidence…well some of it - there was loads to see, so if you are into toys take a look here;

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