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The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention at Athens State University includes competitions, jam sessions, and arts and crafts.
Daily file photo by Jonathan Palmer
The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention at Athens State University includes competitions, jam sessions, and arts and crafts.

Find fantastic fall fun in Athens

By Holly Hollman · 340-2445

ATHENS — Once it’s October in Athens, folks will find fantastic fun for fall with fiddles, food, friends and fables.

For music lovers, the 41st annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention will be at Athens State University. Campers will be on campus all week getting an early start on shade-tree pickin’, so there’s no need to wait until the weekend to enjoy pickin’ and grinnin’.

The actual event is Friday and Saturday and includes competitions, jam sessions, arts and crafts, and belly slapping good food like funnel cakes, apple sundaes and steak sandwiches.

Musical comedian Mike Snider will be this year’s special guest. He will perform Friday at 4 and 7 p.m.

Snider, a Gleason, Tenn., native, has been on the country music scene since the 1980s. He had spots on TNN’s “Nashville Now” and a seven-year stint on “Hee Haw.”

Country vittles

If festival food doesn’t tempt the palate, how about country vittles?

To coincide with Fiddlers, Athens Fire and Rescue is hosting its 11th annual Bean Day on Friday at the Beasley Center across from Station No. 1.

Chow down on white beans and ham, cornbread and slaw, and feel good about helping the community while putting the helpings on your plate.

Money raised goes to local charities, including Shop with a Firefighter at Christmas. For the Christmas charity, the department takes one family from each city and county high school Christmas shopping.


Perhaps reminiscing with friends is a better way to spend a fall day.

That’s what former Trinity High School teachers and students plan to do Oct. 13 at the first ever Trinity Banquet.

Trinity closed in 1970 during integration. It was Limestone County’s all-black school for grades seven-12.

W.M. Byrd, pastor at Grace Missionary Baptist Church, said the banquet will honor former teachers.

“This was an idea that was planted in our hearts,” he said, “because I don’t know that anyone told them, ‘Thank you.’ ”

About 50 former teachers plan to attend.

After all that activity, sit down and relax at the first ever Spirit of Athens Storytelling Festival, presented by Charter Communications. The Spirit of Athens Committee, started in 2006, is pursuing activities like the Storytelling Festival to revitalize downtown.

This year’s theme is Life, Legends and Lies.

Hear ghost stories, memories of Alabama life, what it’s like growing up as a Cuban in Georgia, mountain lore, Scottish folktales, comedic yarns and out-and-out lies from a man who won the West Virginia Liars Contest.

The storytelling will take place under a circus tent on the square Oct. 26-27. Schoolchildren will hear the tall tales earlier in the week.

“I think storytelling is a way of saying I love you enough to tell you something that means a great deal to me,” said Kathryn Tucker Windham, an Alabama storyteller who will share her stories at the festival.

Finding fantastic fun in Athens

Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention: Contests begin Friday at 7 p.m. and resume Saturday at 8:30 a.m. Tickets are $7 for Friday and $15 for both days and are available at the gate. Children 12 and under get in free with a parent. Musical comedian Mike Snider will perform Friday at 4 and 7 p.m.


Bean Day: Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Beasley Center next to Athens Fire Station No. 1 in downtown. Take out or dine in. Will deliver inside the city to site with 10 or more orders. Tickets are $5 and are available at the door.

Tickets also are on sale for a Mossberg Silver Reserve over/under shotgun for $3. Call the Fire Department at 233-8710.

Trinity Banquet: Oct. 13, 5 p.m., Grace Missionary Baptist Church on Elm Street in Athens. Tickets are $10. Buy before Monday. Call 771-7081 or 233-2600.

Will honor former Trinity High teachers. Trinity was an all-black school that closed in 1970. Guest speaker will be retired Judge Eugene Pincham, Class of 1941, who is the former Circuit Court judge of Cook County, Ill., and justice of the Appellate Court of Illinois.

Spirit of Athens Storytelling Festival: Oct. 25 at Athens Middle School, an evening with Alabama storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham (6:30-9:30 p.m.), $10.

Oct. 26-27 on the Athens square, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Weekend tickets, $30; Friday only, $20; Friday night ghost stories (10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.), $5; and Saturday only, $20.

Order tickets with credit card at, or call 866-468-7630 or mail checks to Spirit of Athens, P.O. Box 416, Athens, AL 35612.

Performing will be:

Kathryn Tucker Windham, public television and radio personality from Selma. Tells ghost stories and reminisces about Alabama life.

Carmen Deedy talks about growing up Cuban in Georgia and shares humorous family stories.

Donald Davis, born in Appalachian Mountains, has fairy tales, scary mountain lore, ancient Welsh and Scottish folktales and true-to-life stories about his kin.

Andy Offutt Irwin, mixes comedy and performed with a comedy improv troupe at Walt Disney Word. His jobs have ranged from political satirist to bullfrog tadpole catcher.

Bil Lepp, five-time winner of the West Virginia Liars Contest who has performed at the Smithsonian Folklore Festival.


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