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While travel restrictions due to COVID-19 prevented most international fans from attending Mount Airy Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddler’s Convention over the weekend, there were many fans in the US more than happy to see the event return after the hiatus caused by the pandemic last year. …

“I don’t know how many people there were,” said Judy Joyner, who co-hosted this year’s festival with her husband Doug Joyner. “But I had 700 car registrations and I handed them all out.”

This, she said, does not include people who parked their cars in nearby streets and went to the festival.

“We’ve had a lot of comments from people who said they were happy to be here, glad the convention is back,” said Michael Thorpe, a former park board member and longtime volunteer for the festival. “We have a good crowd and no rain,” he added.

Jim Wipperman, a local musician and music teacher who oversaw the Serry Arts Council’s Friday workshops, he is estimated to have seen at least 150 people walk through various classes that day.

“And the convention doesn’t even start later,” he said Friday afternoon.

Judy Joyner said that while she and her husband watched the convention, it required a lot of volunteers, especially given the fact that they weren’t sure if the convention would take place this year until the end of March.

She highlighted that Randy and Tanya Hiatt were the main reason the convention went so well.

Randy Hiatt, a longtime musician known to many as “Frosty,” said he ran into people from Florida, New York and New Orleans at the event. Other members included fans and musicians from across North Carolina and Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Kentucky, Tennessee, and throughout the South. A quick walk through the parking lot at times showed license plates for countries as far away as California and Alaska.

While many come to the convention to renew old friendships, buy and sell music-related merchandise, and take part in spontaneous jam sessions, music and dance competitions and shows are always in the spotlight. This year was no exception: dozens of musicians took part in almost two dozen separate competitions.

The winners included:

Folk Song for Adults: 1st place went to Stuart Werner III of Rocky Mount, Virginia; the second was Elsa Howell of Roanoke, Virginia; the third was Eliza Meyer of Raleigh; fourth was Tommy Nichols of Mount Airy and fifth was John Curtis Combs of Crown, Kentucky;

Adult Bluegrass Orchestra: Harrison Ridge of Mount Airy; Socially distant from Westfield; Mountain Blessings and Appalachian Mainline, both on Mount Airy; and Coyote Ugly from Kingsport, Tennessee;

Adult Bluegrass Violin: Ruth Shumway from West Jefferson; Cody Bauer from Knoxville, Tennessee; Amanda Harrell from Durham; Crystal Shipley of Whitewill, Virginia; and Willie Marschner from Fairfax;

Adult bluegrass banjo: Andy Lowe from Apex; Ronnie Harrison from Woodlon, Virginia; Tommy Mosre from Stuart, Virginia; Stuart Werner III of Rocky Mount, Virginia; Eddie Ray Buzzini from Mooresville;

Guitar for adults: Kaiser George from Mount Airy; Chad Harrison of Claudeville, Virginia; Gus McGee from King; Steve Kilby of Oust Wilson, Virginia; and Conner Stevens from Johnson City, Tennessee;

Adult bass: John Vogleman of Liberty; David George from Mount Airy; Barbara Bowman of Mount Airy; Wayne Bailey, hometown unspecified; and Mike Plumley from Pilot Mountain;

Adult Good: Charlie Millionron of Ferrum, Virginia; Robert Ellis from Moxville; Donnie Scott from Mount Airy; Billy Bourne from Woodlon; and Keith Aiken of Henderson;

Adult Mandolin: Addie Levy of Redford, Virginia; Daniel Ullom from Asheville; Scott Freeman of Woodlon; Ralph McGee of King and Todd Hiatt of State Road;

Dance for adults: Michael Motley, hometown not listed; Phil Jamison, hometown unspecified; Danny Kniseli, hometown not on the list; Marsha Todd, Mount Airy; and Becky Boyd, hometown not on the list;

Old Time Adult Group: Stateline Playboys from Lowgap; The Alum Ridge Boys and Ashlyn of Floyd, Virginia; Gap Civil of Sparta; Slate Mount Ramblers of Mount Airy; and Five Mile Mountain Road in Boons Mill, Virginia;

Adult Antique Violin: Erinn Marshall from Galax, Virginia; Andrew Small from Floyd; Richard Bowman of Mount Airy; Marcy Shore from King and Lucas Paslay from Sparta;

Old-time adult banjo: Marsha Todd from Mount Airy; Jared Boyd and Trish Fore, both from Galax; Nancy Slays from Westfield; and Michael Motley, hometown unspecified;

Adult Cymbal: Frank Horn of North Tazwell, Virginia; Ehutkay Tevez from Bryson City; Tim Thorton from Shosville, Virginia; John Renwick of Charlotte County, Virginia; and Chad Ritchie from Taylorsville;

Youth Bluegrass Orchestra: Southbound 77 from Statesville won top honors.

Youth Bluegrass Violin: Lake Carver, Moxville; Hollas Oaks, Radford; Whitney Thornton, Hurdle Mills; Camden Fine, Ararat, Virginia; Neely Sizemore, Elkin;

Youth Bluegrass Banjo: Candice Noah, Dobson; David Arispe, Mount Airy;

Youth Folk Song: Ida Rose Buzzini, Mooresville; Lake Carver, Moxville; Layla Cherry, Mooresville; Tae Childress, Statesville; Baila Davis, Leicester;

Youth Vintage Violin: Finton McGrath of Rockbridge County, Virginia; Sylvie Davis from Leicester; Hunter Hiatt of State Road, Jacob Shelton, hometown not listed; Lily Arispe, Mount Airy;

Old Time Banjo Youth: Logan Thompson of Glade Springs, Virginia; Kalya Davis from Leicester;

Youth Guitar: Malachi Bulman from Pinnacle; Levi Arispe of Mount Airy; Maeve McGrath of Rockbridge County; Daniel Rock from Pfafftown; Judah Davis from Leicester;

Youth Mandolin: Loraline Thorton of Hurdle Mills; Logan Harrison of Claudeville; Natalie Sizemore from Elkin; Emma Davis from Leicester;

Youth Dance: Candice Noah Dobson; Gracie Terry from the Bahamas; Neely Sizemore from Elkin; Isaiah Imperial of Thomasville; Malin Todd of Mount Airy;

Most Promising Youth Award: Candice Noah of Dobson.


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