We left Nashville around 8:00 AM for the hour and 15 minute drive east to Smithville, TN. As soon as we parked, the sounds of fiddles, banjos, guitars, mandolins, tappers, spam cans, you name it, could be heard filling the air with energy and comfort. It was a beautiful and clear morning, which was already being taken advantage of by a few hundred people.
The Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival began in 1972 and has been held in celebration of independence day ever since. It was much like a wagon wheel; the 150 artisan booths protruding from the DeKalb county courthouse through surrounding streets like spokes, while the music around the courthouse seemed to turn that wheel on a really smooth and wonderful trip.
We were able to watch some of the competition, of which, there were no breaks. The schedule of events was extensive and seemed to encompass anything related to the Appalachian musical arts. The best action was off stage though. Everywhere we went there were groups of men, women, boys, girls, all clustered together jamming. Some had over 50 years of experience, some less than 50 days. Regardless of skill level (and the heat!), everyone was welcoming and encouraging. Bluegrass is primarily what has been playing around our house and in our cars for sometime, and the emotion never ceases to inspire. This was especially true today, when we could see all sorts of people of all ages coming together to jam and laugh.
We left after a few hours when it was 91 degrees, and a few hundred more people had swarmed the town square. We weren't able to see and hear as much as we wanted, but with the little one, the heat, and the lack of available shade, it seemed the most sensible thing to do. Besides, it's definitely better to leave with everyone happy, right? And we were really happy, and are really looking forward to returning next year.
We have the Red, White, and Zoo event at Nashville Zoo on the schedule for tomorrow, and a nice hike planned for Monday morning. It's shaping up to be a great weekend of celebration and thanks. What are your plans?