was a colorful weekend at Auburndale City Park as bands, musicians. cloggers,
and vendors turned out for the eighth annual Florida Bluegrass Championships.
Jim Hammond, president of the sponsoring Sertoma
Club, estimated that between 20,000 and 30,000 people attended the three-day
think we had quite a few more than last year, but I felt last year's
estimate was a bit high," Hammond said.
estimated 21,000 people attended the 1983 festival.
year's winner of the band competition, Southern Star Bluegrass of
Plant City won the first-place award again this year. The Robert
N. Pretzie Award, worth $1,500 was presented to the band by Wilf
Deweese, secretary of the Sertoma Club.
didn't think we'd win," said Ed Mott, the band's agent and business
manager. "We heard the other bands and they were good.''
Star has been together for seven years and have released an album
entitled "Our Way".
members, Bill Leeder and Wally Quick (also festival chairman) presented
Southland Express with the second-place M.E. "Hap" Hill Award and
third-place band was the Ramblin' Roses of Auburndale, which picked
place went to The Beaumont Family, which was, awarded $200.
of the individual performances each won $100. Eddie Barrs won the
fiddle competition and was presented the Shinn-Storch Award. Dan
Smith, also a member of the winning Southern Star band, was the mandolin
competition. Gilbert Hancock was winner of the banjo competition.
Pretzie, "Hap" Hill, and Shinn-Storch Awards were named for the four
local Sertomans who were killed in a January plane crash in Georgia.
They were returning from a mid-year Sertoma conference in Tennessee.
think it (the festival) went pretty good." said Hammond. "We're pleased
with the events and the cooperation we received from the city government!"
had no real problems", said Larry Walker another Sertoma member. "Marvin
Wiley (recreation director) and the city staff opened their hands
and let us do whatever was necessary."
minor problem was we needed a piano Sunday and within 10 minutes
the city had one for us."
helped organize the bands before their stage appearance.
Allen was once again at the helm, directing the festivities as the
master of ceremonies. Allen was honored Friday by having the day
named after him. Not only is he a member of the Sertoma Club he is
also is responsible for originating the festival eight years ago.
was real good; we had a larger crowd and better weather", said Allen. "It
seems like we were attracting better bands this year.
go to a lot of bluegrass shows and that one we had was as good as
any of them." he said.
new feature of this year's festival was the addition of gospel music
to the program. Three gospel groups appeared Sunday - Little Jimmy
Taylor and the Premiers, Lewis Shumate and the Shumate Family and
gospel was well received," said Walker. "We need to lean toward the
quartets or bluegrass style. We'll probably keep the gospel (next
year) but try to start it earlier."
to been at noon, the gospel performances were delayed until almost
plus for the Sertomans and festival-goers was that there was enough
food this year. Unlike last year's festival when the Sertoma Club
was not involved with the concessions, there was a shortage. Hamm
said the club figured it just right. LaSertoma, the sister club of
Sertoma, sold concessions and volunteered to cook and serve the barbecue
did very well with the food this year." said Hammond. "We did it
ourselves and had a better handle on it."
important aspect of the festival was the flurry of activity businesses
in town reported as a result of the thousands of visitors in the
was well received by the people in town," said Walker. "For the people
to come out and have a good time is worthwhile.
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