Intermittent drizzle kept the morning crowds low at the 2014 Freedom and Fiddling Festival. However, by the afternoon, more people braved the weather to enjoy the festivities.
The Twin Lakes National Fiddler Championship began Saturday, July 19 with the opening of vendor booths and the start of the competition. The festival also hosted a car show, small carnival rides, and trolley trips around the square.
While the fiddling contest progressed through various instruments and divisions, many musicians organized impromptu jam sessions all around Courthouse Square.
Wayne Head, a resident of Hugo, Oklahoma, was in Leitchfield for the first time for Saturday’s championship.
“This is my first one and it’s really nice,” he said.
Wayne was joined on the courthouse steps by his friend and fellow musician Ron Adams, of Shepherdsville, Ky. The two friends utilize events such as the Freedom and Fiddling Festival to play together - something they rarely get a chance to do.
Leitchfield Tourism Director Ilsa Johnson said the event saw a good turnout even though the numbers were down from last year.
Johnson attributes the decrease to the rain and the fireworks’ being held on Friday as opposed to Saturday. Contestant numbers, however, were the same as last year, with 125 participants representing 14 states.
The festival and fiddlers championship progressed throughout the day, beginning with the youth divisions and ending with the bluegrass bands.
The first place winners in each contest category are as follows:
In the Small Fry Fiddle category, ages 8 and under, David Lin, of Lexington, Kentucky won 1st place.
In the Junior Junior Fiddle category, ages 9-12, and the Junior Dancing category, ages 16 and under, Ivy Phillips, of Chapmansboro, Tennessee, won 1st place.
In the Junior Fiddle category, ages 13-17, Harrison Schumann, of San Antonio, Texas, won 1st place.
In the Young Adult Fiddle category, ages 18-39, Doug Fleener, of Leitchfield, Kentucky, won 1st place. Fleener was also the Championship Fiddle-Off winner.
In the Adult Fiddle category, ages 40-59, Joel Whittinghill, of Bowling Green, Kentucky, won 1st place.
In the Senior Fiddle category, ages 65 and over, Richard Harness, of Stover, Missouri, won 1st place.
In the Guitar and Mandolin categories, Tyler Andal, of White House, Tennessee, won 1st place.
In the Banjo category, Weston Stewart, of Anderson, Alabama, won 1st place.
In the Bluegrass Band category, Higher Ground, of Bowling Green, Kentucky, won 1st place.
In the Adult Dancing category, ages 17-40, Melanie Belfiore, of Rineyville, Kentucky, won both 1st and 2nd place.
In the Senior Dancing category, ages 41 and over, Dana Crowley, of Franklin, Tennessee, won 1st place.
Judges for this year’s Twin Lakes National Fiddler Championship were Dan Kelly, Justin Branum and Matt Wyatt.