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208 Redial: Fiddlin' around in Weiser

We remember back to 2002 when John Miller was able to take in the 50th annual Oldtime Weiser Fiddle Festival.

WEISER, Idaho — After more than a year of cancellations because of the pandemic, life is starting to return to normal again.

Annual events, like the Emmett Cherry Festival and Meridian Dairy Days are back this year.

And this week, the National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest and Festival returns to the fiddling capital of the world -- Weiser, Idaho.

The event was cancelled last year due to COVID, but is back for its 68th year starting Tuesday, June 22.

Hundreds of fiddlers are rosining up their bows for a week of good old fiddling fun.

In this version of the 208 Redial, we remember back to 2002 when John Miller was able to take in the 50th annual fiddle festival.

"Is there some unwritten law, that if you own a fiddle, you must also own a camper?" asked John. 

"I do not believe so."

"Sorry no."

"If you own a fiddle, you have to have a relative that you can annoy. That's the only rule there!"

Not that anyone from New Mexico to West Virginia to South Dakota ever got annoyed with anything after 50 years of fiddling.

"What's the best part of being here?" asked John. 

"The people!"

Like the Callahan Clan, which doesn't even compete,

"No, we just come and meet to have fun!"

All the way from California.

"Why Weiser?" asked John. 

"Well, we're Weiser geezers I guess!"  

"There's always a great story, you can find all kinds of music out here."

Cranked out on tired old guitars, in front of tired old dogs, and tired little babies. Just around the corner from Carterville.

"What is Carterville?" asked John. 

"It's just kids from Colorado, and a few from Oregon, and whoever else happens to wander in."

Carterville's population somewhere between 13 and 65 depending on how many of Denise Carter's students make it out this year to compete. But then again...

"The contest is just secondary to the jamming. 

You know it's neat there, plus you got the little kids jamming, and that's always cute and stuff like that, but I think a lot of people out here enjoy the culture out here. 

"Oh yeah, there's a lot more fun out here."

"And it's really good for them, they learn a lot, and they always want to come back." 

"All is well in Carterville?" asked John. 

"Yes!"

And in Weiser, camper or not.

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