Fiddlers string up Atmore

Published 8:41 pm Monday, July 26, 2004

By By Arthur McLean
Rain seemed to dampen everything but the spirits at the 25th annual Old Time Fiddlers Convention and 2nd annual barbecue.
About 40 performers from around south Alabama and north Florida came to Atmore ready to display their talents for a crowd of about 300 gathered at Escambia County High School auditorium.
Outside, the smell of slow-smoked meats filled the air along with rain that fell through most of the morning and afternoon.
"We're tickled with the turnout with the weather the way it is," said Walt Butler. Butler and the Wild Bunch barbecue team helped organize the barbecue cook-off, but the team did not compete in the cook off because it brought the barbecue judges.
Pulled pork, ribs and chicken was available for sale, along with the barbecue teams' special sauces. People gathered under tents to sample the fair, and all teams did sporadically brisk business throughout the day.
Inside, about 200 people slowly filed into the high school's auditorium to hear musical groups and soloists compete in eight different categories.
Andy Purvis came up from Panama City, Fla. with his fiddle in hand to join the competition. He and performers from about three other musical groups formed an impromptu band, delighting the crowd with their bluegrass performances.
"We're happy to see people coming, but it looks like the weather is hurting turnout this year," said Keith Castleberry.
The convention is organized every year by the Atmore Rotary Club. Proceeds from the convention and the barbecue sales go to fund the Rotary's Academic All-star program.

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