The Twin Lakes National Fiddler’s Championship and Leitchfield Freedom Fest combined forces this year to have one free festival, held at the Leitchfield Public Square.
Approximately 6,000 visitors found their way to the festival that highlighted an antique car show, a loud car stereo contest, the Zooperstars, free carnival finds, crafters, and 127 musicians and dances competing for trophies during 12 hours of competition.
Co-Coordinator of the fiddling contest, Ed Carnes, said, “We were very pleased with the turnout for this year’s contest. We went from 45 fiddlers and 16 other contestants last year to 77 fiddlers and 50 other contestants this year. We had a bigger audience as well. We got great feedback from the musicians, and we expect an even bigger turnout next year.”
This is the second year for the Twin Lakes National Fiddlers Championship. The event was created after the Kentucky State Fiddlers Contest was moved – after 30 plus years - from Rough River, Ky. to Elizabethtown by event coordinators, due to financial decline. Steven Elder, Harold Miller and Ed Carnes collaborated to preserve the fiddling tradition Grayson Countians had come accustom to.
Ilsa Johnson, Leitchfield Tourism Director, called the event “wonderful” proclaiming she had heard only positive feedback from event goers.
The Leitchfield Tourism, which is funded from the Restaurant Tax, spent an estimated $25,000 on the event in the form of rides, fireworks, advertising, sound, and misc. The tourism commission also gifted a $5,000 grant to the fiddling contest to help with the costs associated with prize money given to winners.
The only unforeseen issue with the night, according to Johnson, was visibility – or lack thereof – for a handful of the fireworks from the square. She said there wasn’t anything to prevent the problem since structures blocked the view for a handful of explosions, however, most of the crowd moved to the opposite side of the buildings to view the fireworks once the event began.
After the fireworks display had ended, musicians picked up where they had left off and finished out the competition.
The rains held off until the fireworks ended but it did force the last few events inside the Grayson County Courthouse.