Convention camping rumor debunked

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By Shaina Stockton, Staff

As the 78th Annual Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention approaches, rumors of rain damage in Felts Park causing problems for the city’s largest annual event are running rampant. Fortunately, a phone call to Tom Jones of the Galax Moose Lodge, publicity chairman for the event, dried up that flood of falsehoods.
“The fiddlers’ convention will go on,” he told The Gazette on Thursday. “We’ve been out here working all day, and as far as I know right now, everything is ready to go just like it is.”

This year’s event runs from Aug. 5-10. Campers will be able to enter the park at 7 a.m. on Aug. 4.
The lodge has sponsored the massive bluegrass and old-time music gathering since 1935. It attracts about 40,000 people over the course of a week, including hundreds of fans and musicians who camp in the park in everything from makeshift tents to expensive RVs.
Jones noted that, while the ground in the park has mostly dried over recent days of sunny weather, there might still be a few wet spots that the lodge won’t be able to use for camping spots.
Jones said that the lodge’s convention committee did discuss several options to keep the festivities going in case the rain rolls in, but the outlook so far looks promising.
The convention is arriving on the heels of a series of storms that drenched the Twin Counties over the past several weeks. By June, the area already had received the average rainfall expected for the entire year, and halfway through July the area had seen 600 percent of the month’s expected accumulation.
If contestants are worried about the weather, it’s not reflected by the registration figures.
Jones reported that overall registration for the convention’s various competitions is only down by 13 from last year.
“We had three less old-time bands and three more bluegrass. Bands broke even,” Jones said. “Some categories were down. Guitar was down many, but several other categories are up.”