By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
(Sept. 22, 2022) There will be plenty of loot on the line this weekend as the Berlin Fiddlers Convention returns for its 30th year.
The three-day celebration of bluegrass music will feature both professional and amateur artists. The weekend will kick off with a locals’ party in front of the Sterling Tavern on Friday at 6:30 p.m., featuring the String Buzzards and Tom Finch.
Saturday will go from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and feature a vendors’ market offering various fare, including the Burley Oaks truck and a beer wagon offering a variety of drinks. There will be arts, snacks and children’s activities as well, according to Ryan Nellans, executive administrator for the Berlin Chamber of Commerce.
On Sunday from noon to 3 p.m., after the Berlin Farmers Market, artists Stevenson Crossroads will play at the Calvin B. Taylor House during a gospel jam.
“It’s just a good time,” Nellans said. “We only have a handful of really big events we throw ourselves into. ‘Fiddlers’ is on par with the (Berlin) Bathtub Races as far as intensity and what we are trying to bring to the town.”
Nellans said the chamber has a “fat stack” of cash prizes to give away following the marquee bluegrass competitions on Saturday.
“We have the fiddlers — first place $300. National flat-picking competition — a ridiculous prize of $250, a brand-new guitar and a trophy. Then we have more of a streamlined approach. We’re going to have a youth open — any instrument as long as it’s bluegrass — and the same thing for adults,” Nellans said.
There’ll be first-, second- and third-place ribbons and prize money in those open events. The adult open will give out $200 for first place while the kids’ open will net the winner $150.
When accounting for the value of the guitar given away in the flat-picking competition, Nellans estimated that the chamber will be committing around $2,000 to prizes.
They’re still looking for adults to sign up, Nellans added.
Also on sale will be T-shirts of similar quality and style to the shirts sold at the Bathtub Races.
Anyone driving around Berlin should expect road closures and detours to accommodate the convention, which will shut down Main Street from the Atlantic Hotel at Jefferson Street and Main to the Sterling Tavern at Stevenson Lane and Main. A shuttle bus will run from the Berlin Intermediate School to the event.
“It’s going to be a beautiful day to listen to music and drink beer and just hang out downtown,” Nellans said. “(It’ll be) 72 (degrees) and clear. It’s going to be a gorgeous, gorgeous weekend.”
For more information about the Berlin Fiddlers Convention, visit https://berlinchamber.org/fiddlers-convention or call the Berlin Chamber of Commerce at 410-641-4775.