Festival #13:  March 17-19, 1989

AUBURNDALE STAR - Thursday, March 23, 1989

Bluegrass festival called best ever


AUBURNDALE -- The Auburndale Bluegrass Festival got off to a high-spirited start on Friday evening, March 17. About 1,000 people were gathered at the beginning, according to Carl Allen, master of ceremonies. The crowd swelled as the hours danced by and Allen said he thought this was the largest crowd ever to attend.
Besides the good 'ol bluegrass music heard, there were plenty of food wagons with everything from cotton candy to hometown-type barbecue.
There were crafts to be bought and the Auburndale Police Department was giving out free balloons and thrilled little people and big people alike with their radio-control operated miniature police car.
While, the cloggers clogged and the fiddlers fiddled, there was the ever popular dunking tank with various people to drown, sponsored by the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency.
Allen invited everyone to go get even with Sheriff Crow and a crowd soon assembled around the tank in the dark of Friday night. Crow warned people that if anyone dunked him, he'd have them "cuffed and stuffed".
On one of his trips coming to from the depths of the tank, Crow said, "The water's not too bad, I just hate the trip down."
Allen said on Saturday, "I let him (Crow) have it good. I missed the first ball so far that he laughed at me, so I got him with my second and third balls real good."
Allen, called Auburndale the "Bluegrass Capitol of Florida." It Must be true. Nearly every three out of four people around seemed to be from out of town and even out of state.
To look at Allen all relaxed in his lawn chair, you couldn't tell he was the action behind all the action for the festival, the 13th Annual Championship of Bluegrass music. He had time and a story or two for anyone who wanted to chew the fat with him.
"This is the nicest and cleanest place to be," Allen said of Auburndale. I'm getting the best cooperation out of the city. This Bluegrass music gets in your blood good as dope does and it's a whole sight healthier.
There were about 35 bands that performed and two contests -- one for fiddlers and one for banjo players. Roger Messer, from Auburndale, has Played the banjo for ten years now and won the banjo competition last year. His accompanist was a school buddy from Lakeland, Martin Decato.
This year, however, Messer was not the winner. Instead, the Prospector's Bluegrass Band from Okeechobee, ran away with all the awards. They were first Place in the band competition, and two of their player's won additionally: Doug Green won the banjo competition and Vincent Hamilton won the fiddler's competition. The County Line Bluegrass Band came in second place in the band competition and the Breakwater Bluegrass Band came in third.
Allen said of Hamilton, "This boy can do it all --- he's magic on the fiddle." He added, "The judges had a really, tough time this year because all the bands were keyed up to the very top."
Allen estimated that over the weekend all together, there were between 7,000 and 8,000 people that found themselves stomping their feet in time to the beat of the best of the best Bluegrass music around.

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