After taking a break in ‘07, Branson’s Olde Time Fiddle Festival will return Saturday with dozens of musicians vying for titles.

“We have one fiddler who is only 6 years old, and a number of family groups,” said Dawn Erickson, director of the event’s sponsor, the Downtown Branson Main Street Association.

The youngest fiddler, from Kirbyville, will be joined by four siblings. Fiddlers from as far away as New Zealand have expressed interest in the festival; so far, about 45 have registered and many will do so Saturday morning, Erickson said.

Competition begins at 10 a.m. near the fountain at Branson Landing. Finals will be held at 7 p.m.

If thunderstorms play a factor, the festival will be held indoors at the K-Life building on 5th Street.

“We’ve been watching the weather very closely,” Erickson said.

The last fiddle festival — the 19th annual — was held in 2006.

“It had always been held downtown on the stone steps, but the Landing is not conducive to a ticketed event and we always charged admission,” Erickson said.

This year, for the first time, the event will be free to the public.

“We raised about $10,000 and the city donated $10,000 for marketing,” Erickson said. “A number of local businesses are also sponsors of the event.”

Branson Landing is also contributing $3,000 in services and equipment.

Prize money and awards will total $4,000.

Even though the contest and awards ceremony will be held at the Landing, the entire downtown district will be filled with performances, Erickson said.

“It’s just going to be a lot of fun,” she said. “We’re expecting to see a lot of sidewalk sales.”

Information & Image courtesy of Branson Daily News