WEISER, Idaho — The National Oldtime Fiddlers' Competition and Festival makes its triumphant return to Weiser as this festival has quite the history.
"It started in 1953 as something to fill the intermission at a square dance contest," said organizer Bruce Campbell. "In 1963 with the Idaho Territorial Centennial it became known as the National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest.”
Last year the event got canceled and to have it back seemed like a bigger deal than some of the other events returning in Idaho and the Treasure Valley.
The fiddlers feature an older crowd and no doubt the demographic that got hit hardest by the pandemic.
"Everybody was sad when it didn’t happen last year because of COVID," said Nancy Padilla who came from Bozeman, Montana. "Adults and seniors who enjoy the music can get together, but really it is to pass the music on to the kids."
Some of the protocols remained as musicians performed in front of only their family and friends, some of the musicians competed virtually and we saw a man dial in from Japan and for the first time, the event is being streamed online here or on Facebook.
"I think some of the changes we’ve made for this year are going to get integrated back into the contest," said Campbell. "The main reason I do this is it’s a great bunch of people we look forward to seeing this group once a year and that makes it all worthwhile."
Campbell even rented a U-haul trailer and put a 70-inch smart tv in the back to allow the campers to watch the show under a canopy.
One of the reasons that make this festival so special is the camping and all the music that comes along with it.
“Thank you, Bruce and Cindy Campbell and all the volunteers," said Padilla. "Bruce and Cindy Campbell have really put their hearts and souls into keeping the contest going for years and we love them."
The contest lasts until Saturday and there will be a parade at noon in Weiser and then on Saturday night seven grand champion contestants will play to see who is the best and we learned two of them will be playing virtually.