Weiser is nationally known for oldtime fiddlers' contest

Posted at 6:33 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 22:17:22-04

There seems to be just one single instrument that tends to get your toe tapping in a hurry every time, the fiddle.

There is no shortage of fiddles in Weiser this week where musicians from across the nation are in the Gem state vying for the top spot.

Of course, there are a variety of reasons any musician chooses to pick up a new instrument. But, for 15-year-old Abby Kofoed, of Middleton, it was a family thing.

"I was inspired by a few of my relatives who really like to play the fiddle," Kofoed says, who also plays the piano.

Each junior contestant at Wednesday's qualifying rounds came prepared to play three songs including a break down, a waltz and a tune of their choice.

Even though it's the competition that draws everyone in to the National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest in Weiser, it's the camaraderie that keeps them coming back year after year.

"It's really kind of more about having fun and supporting each other," says John Crawford, of Burleson, Texas. "And, they do that even in the most fierce competition."

Weiser's six-day event is one of three major fiddler competitions held each year in the United States.

The Crawford family came to Idaho all the way from Texas. Their daughter is a first generation fiddler.

It's a week-long camping trip they put on their calendar every year.

"We don't want it to die, we want the music to stay alive so that the next generation will be able to hear it, learn it and pass is on to the next generation," Crawford says.

After a quick run through in the warm-up room, Kofoed is ready to take center stage. She says the key to being a good fiddler is to play from the heart.

"A lot of the best fiddlers don't play the same song twice," she explains. "They improv every single time and they always play it differently. So, it's really about creativity."

The fiddlers' contest and festival runs through Saturday, June 25 in Weiser. The junior contests are held during the day at the Weiser High School. Contests pick up at 7 p.m. nightly. For more information, visit