Fiddle Championships – The great summer tradition

July 31, 2015   ·   0 Comments

For the residents of Dufferin County, summer is an enjoyable time of the year.
It is the season for family outings, holidays, and outdoor activities in the beautiful natural landscape of this part of Ontario. During the second week of August, however, a major transformation occurs in the normally quiet and peaceful town of Shelburne. Almost overnight, the town’s population of 4000 swells approximately three-fold, as visitors arrive from all comers of North America and beyond. Suddenly, cars, trucks, and recreational vehicles of all sizes and shapes line the streets. New faces appear in the grocery store, on the sidewalks, and in the local restaurants. There is a buzz of activity at the Centre Dufferin Recreation Complex, with groups coming and going at all hours of the day and night. The appearance of Main Street, decked out with its brightly coloured flags and festive decorated storefronts, signals that something special is about to take place: the annual Canadian Open Championship Old Time Fiddle Contest!
The Fiddle Contest has been at the centre of community life in Shelburne for the past half-century. Everyone has his or her own memories of the event and its related festivities. Those who owned houses bordering on the camping park would probably remember the crowds’ partying that carried on through the night ‘til the early morning hours! Workers with the police force, the hospital, and the downtown stores, will likely recall their chaotic schedules and overtime hours. If you were a member of a Shelburne service club, you were busy setting up the arena, selling food, or organizing the parade. If, as a child, you watched the parade and indulged in treats at the park, you would have fond memories of the juggling clowns, live music, and the fun atmosphere.
In a small community like Shelburne, everyone is affected to some degree by the Fiddle Contest, because so many of the town’s residents dedicate their time and efforts towards the event’s success. Whatever the memory, it is surely linked to the familiar, sweet, and beautiful sound of fiddle music. Whether it was wafting from the large speakers set up downtown on Main Street, or played live by talented musicians in the camping park and at the arena, fiddle music has been at the heart of the popular annual festivities in Shelburne since 1951.



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