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Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention and Festival to Bring Sounds of Music to Stow House

Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise fundraising event is set for Oct. 10

Each October, the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise produces a greatly anticipated local fundraising event. This year, the 39th Annual Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention and Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10 at the historic Rancho La Patera & Stow House in Goleta.

The festival is a family-friendly celebration of American traditional music. Since 1972, the festival has enriched the community and brought thousands of visitors from all over the country to the area.

Once on the festival grounds, attendees are surrounded by music. The Performance Stage offers a day of world-class acoustic music in a variety of styles. This year hails the return of Grammy winner Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum.

The festival also will feature Old Time music at its best from the Pacific Northwest with The Foghorn Trio, Austin-based national steel guitar virtuoso Steve James, sizzling New England contra dance music with Wild Asparagus, and more of the finest in Old Time music with Little Black Train, Triple Chicken Foot and the Old Time Fiddlers. In addition, dozens of impromptu jam sessions bring together local and visiting musicians of all ages on the festival grounds, playing everything from Irish to bluegrass to gypsy jazz.

There will also be one of the premier Old Time music contests on the West Coast. Up to 100 contestants compete for recognition and cash prizes. Anyone from beginner to advanced levels is encouraged to compete in Old Time fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, song or band categories. Last year, the youngest competitor was 4 years old, and his whole family participated.

The grounds of the historic Stow House provide an ideal setting. The Stow House itself is a historical gem maintained by the Goleta Valley Historical Society. Tours are available throughout the day.

Sunrise Rotary is committed to making music accessible to young people. Free workshops and outreach to schools are central to the event. The event is wheelchair accessible and offers barbecue fare and beverages for sale.

Vendors will dot the perimeter — attendees can even purchase a fiddle — and a variety of local groups are on the grounds to entertain and offer activities for kids and adults alike. It’s hard to find someone whose feet aren’t tapping to the music and enjoying the good company.

Visitors are encouraged to spread a blanket or set up chairs. Definitely bring your instruments, or just drink in the music and good times.

The festival is all-volunteer run by members of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise, their families and friends. A local Boy Scout troop will help with parking. All proceeds and sponsorship donations fund Sunrise Rotary’s local and international community service projects.

Click here for detailed information.

— Betsy Munroe is the public relations chairwoman for the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise, which meets at 7 a.m. Wednesdays at the Santa Barbara Club, 1105 Chapala St.

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