Sorensen: Festival perfect time for the community to show local pride

Sorensen: Festival perfect time for the community to show local pride by David Lias Bonnie Sorensen, manager of the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce, said this weekend�s Old-Time Fiddle Contest and Jamboree, scheduled to be held in Vermillion, is about more than music, entertainment and fellowship.

It�s about a host of things important to Vermillion � from raising funds to help decorate city streets for the holidays, to participating in a unique opportunity to show off local hospitality to visitors who come to Vermillion from all over the Midwest.

�We will be sending Chamber volunteers to act as good will ambassadors at the festival,� Sorensen said, �for both the audience and the contestants.�

The Chamber of Commerce AutumnFest Committee will also be holding its annual fund-raising supper on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 4:30-7 pm, out of doors on the lawn between Old Main and Slagle Hall on the USD campus.

Jamboree participants and audience members may enjoy a BBQ sandwich, baked beans, coleslaw, dessert, and beverage. The price of the meals will be $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under.

�This will be a fund-raiser for us,� Sorensen said, �with the proceeds going to the Christmas decorating project begun last year.�

America�s Shrine to Music Museum, in collaboration with First Dakota National Bank, Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce, and USD, will host the Fiddle Contest in Slagle Auditorium.

This weekend will mark the second year that fiddle contest and jamboree has been held at the USD campus.

�Our goal is to be there to help people who may have any questions,� Sorensen said. �The festival is such a wonderful event for us to be the host city for. We want to show good hospitality to our visitors.�

Sorensen added that some of those visitors may attend Saturday�s Coyote football game.

The contest was founded in Yankton in 1973 by Wilbur Foss, a fourth-generation fiddle player, and his wife, Elizabeth, after attending the National Old-Time Fiddle Contest in Idaho. Under their leadership, the South Dakota contest has developed a national reputation. The Shrine to Music Museum hosted the event for the first time in 1998.

For the 27th year, old-time fiddlers and accordion players will come together from a dozen states or more.

They will bring their back-up guitarists and pianists for a weekend of competition.

Sorensen is excited about some other unique activities planned by the Vermillion and the university to make the fiddle contestants, and those who come here to listen to the musicians, feel at home.

�The university is allowing old time fiddlers to camp overnight on campus,� Sorensen said.

She added that Old Main on the university campus will be open all through each night of the jamboree.

�That will allow the fiddlers to come together after the competition ends each day and just simply perform together for the fun of it,� Sorensen said.

The Chamber�s presence at the festival won�t end after Saturday�s AutumnFest BBQ.

�Sunday morning, there will be a gospel sing at the festival, and we will be there, serving coffee and sweets and collecting a free will offering,� she said.

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