Saturday May 30th in Athens, TX on a sunny afternoon Allen Family Dentistry had a front row seat to the best concert in East TX. Fiddlers extraordinaire and community members from several areas in East TX gathered in the parking lot behind the Texan and sat in the beds of their trucks, under tents or on lawn chairs brought from home to attend the Athens Fiddlers Reunion, an event that has been known by fiddle music lovers across the region and country since 1932.
This event typically attracts a massive audience as fiddlers from all over the United States compete in a fiddling competition. However, this year looked a little different due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We were told there is normally a carnival in the city parking lot, food vendors all over the courthouse square with tasty food and novelty stands with little toys that kids like. Although the coronavirus did impact the setup of the event, a few local restaurants were set up with crowd pleasing treats and the local shops on the square were open for sidewalk shopping. And fiddlers from all over the country still came out to perform!
The fiddling concert happened to fall upon the late Tyler local and fiddling legend Johnny Gimble’s birthday, and the first band to come on stage played a song in his honor. There were so many wonderful fiddlers but there was definitely one that stole our hearts. When we met 7 year old fiddle prodigy, McKenna Petersen we knew we had met the Fiddle Princess! The way this talented girl played the fiddle had all concert goers entertained and in awe. We were lucky enough to sit and visit with McKenna and learn about how she became so talented at playing her instrument. As she enjoyed a cupcake she told us of how she was proud of her recent accomplishment of practicing her instrument 1,332 days in a row! She also let us know when we asked what the difference between playing a violin and a fiddle. She told us that a violin has strings and a fiddle has “Straangs”. Our Fiddle Princess had us giggling through the evening and enjoying every second of her story as well as her fiddle playing. To say this young lady is a star is an understatement. We can’t wait to see her at next years Fiddlers Reunion!
We were so happy to have been able to be involved with this event this year. It was a true bright spot in this chaotic season. We look forward to many more years attending the Old Fiddlers Reunion Concert in Athens, TX!