By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Sept. 20, 2018) The 26th annual Berlin Fiddler’s Convention is scheduled to bring three days of free, family-friendly events and live entertainment to the downtown areathis Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Slated to open the show on Friday night, starting at 7 p.m., are the Lonesome Ridge Rangers, winners of the 2017 Fiddler’s Convention band competition. They will be followed by Washington, D.C. bluegrass quintet Only Lonesome and Nashville singer/songwriter Rebecca Frazier.
Berlin Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Larnet St. Amant said the stage on Friday would be set up near Fin’s Alehouse and Raw Bar on North Main Street. Fin’s is the Friday night entertainment sponsor and the chamber each year hosts the three-day event.
“We’re really excited for Friday night in downtown Berlin,” St. Amant said. “We have the winners from last year, then we have Rebecca Frazier who is wonderful and is going to represent the women – you know how we love to celebrate our women in Berlin – and then Only Lonesome will round out the night.”
In case of rain, the bands will move indoors to the Globe on Broad Street.
On Saturday, staging moves to South Main Street in front of the Atlantic Hotel. An encore performance by Only Lonesome and Rebecca Frazier is expected to start at 11 a.m.
The competition portion of the event will start at noon with youth and adult categories including best band, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. For the second year, the competition will also include the Maryland State Flatpicking Guitar Championship. Winners in each category will receive cash prizes.
“There will be lots of great vendors on Saturday and we’ve got food from Street Kitchen, the Lions Club and the Masons,” St. Amant said. “We’ve got a moon bounce and put-put golf, crafts from Worcester Youth and Family, and face painting and hula hoops and lots of stuff for kids.”
St. Amant said two “kid zones” would be part of the Saturday lineup, including one on Commerce Street and another on North Main Street, near Worcester Youth.
Burley Oak Brewing Company will operate a beer truck and the shop Sisters will offer wine slushies, “Because it’s going to be hot and gorgeous,” St. Amant said.
The rain location on Saturday is the Berlin Intermediate School auditorium. Free parking and a shuttle service to downtown will be available from the school, on Franklin Avenue.
The Fiddler’s Convention winds up on Sunday at noon, with the annual gospel bluegrass jam hosted by locals Steve Frene and Kenny Good on the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum lawn on North Main Street.
“Bring your chair and be ready to have a great time,” St. Amant said.
She said the event was the largest of the year for the chamber and essentially rounds out the year.
“We start with Spring Celebration and we finish up with this event,” St. Amant said. “We’re excited and we think the weather is going to be great. We’re due!”
While no other major, townwide Berlin Chamber of Commerce happenings are scheduled in 2018, St. Amant said the nonprofit is planning several seminars and “business after hours” events. The annual installation dinner for new officers is scheduled in January.
For more information or to register in advance for the competition, visit www.berlinchamber.org/fiddlers-convention.