By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – The Charlie Daniels Band once told a tale about the devil going down to Georgia for a fiddlin’ competition. The story goes the devil challenged a young man named Johnny to see who might be the best fiddler. Well, ol’ Johnny supposedly played a pretty mean fiddle, whupped the devil at his own game and won a fiddle made of gold.

If years’ past are any indication, if young Johnny had come down to Texas instead of Georgia, that shiny golden violin may have found a home right here in the Piney Woods of East Texas.

It’s that time of year again! It’s time to rosin up your bow and play that fiddle hard because the 81st Annual Fiddler’s Festival is right around the corner.

The competition is set for Saturday Sept. 23 with registration beginning at 9 a.m. The opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. and the first fiddlers are scheduled to take the stage at 10:20 a.m. with the Senior Division competition (ages 60 and up.) This year’s event will be held on the square in downtown Crockett.

Once the seniors conclude, the Youth Division (0-18 years of age) will steal the spotlight. After a break for lunch, the winners of the senor and youth divisions will be announced.

Following the announcement of the morning competition winners, Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Bobby Christman, as well as the Solomon Family. After the awards presentation, competition in the World Championship Division will begin, followed by the Accompanist Division.

Judges’ call backs will start at 4 p.m. and the winners of the Accompanist Division, the Open Division and the 2017 World Champion Fiddler will be announced starting at 6 p.m.

This year’s Masters of Ceremonies will be local icons Lonnie Hunt and Pipp Gillette.

According to the World Championship Fiddlers’ Festival website, “The object of our contest is to perpetuate old-time tunes and the old-fashioned way of entertaining. This day, September 23, 2017, has been set aside by the Fiddlers Festival committee, with the cooperation of the Crockett Merchants, as a day of — Fiddlin’, Frolickin’, Foolishness and Fun. This year we are returning the Festival to its original location — Downtown Crockett around the Houston County Courthouse Square. There will be plenty of shade, good food, arts and crafts as well as world class fiddlers and fiddle music!”

For more information please contact Erin Ford at 936-577-8257; Paul Stringer at 936-545-1212; or Glenda Dowell at 936-544-7070.

For information about vendor booths, please contact Tony Browning at 281-380-1666 or by email at fiddlebooth@gmail.com.

The 81st Annual Fiddlers Festival is sponsored by: Citizens National Bank; McDonald’s; Coca Cola; TaTa’s Tex-Mex; Doc’s BBQ; Brookshire Brothers; the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce; Willie Josey’s Paint and Body Shop; Crockett Eye Clinic; Texas Farm and Home Magazine; Coldwell Banker Realty; State Representative Trent Ashby; the Houston County Courier; Sandyland Propane; and HEB.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.