Festival #8:  MARCH 16-18, 1984


AUBURNDALE STAR - Thursday, March 22, 1984  

'Quite a few more' see
eighth bluegrass fest


MELANIE POTTER
Auburndale Star


It 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 festival.
"I think we had quite a few more than last year, but I felt last year's estimate was a bit high," Hammond said.
An estimated 21,000 people attended the 1983 festival.
Last 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.
"We 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.''
Southern Star has been together for seven years and have released an album entitled "Our Way".
Sertoma members, Bill Leeder and Wally Quick (also festival chairman) presented Southland Express with the second-place M.E. "Hap" Hill Award and $1,000.
The third-place band was the Ramblin' Roses of Auburndale, which picked up $500.
Fourth place went to The Beaumont Family, which was, awarded $200.
Winners 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.
The 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.
"I think it (the festival) went pretty good." said Hammond. "We're pleased with the events and the cooperation we received from the city government!"
"We 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."
"Out minor problem was we needed a piano Sunday and within 10 minutes the city had one for us."
Walker helped organize the bands before their stage appearance.
Carl 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.
It was real good; we had a larger crowd and better weather", said Allen. "It seems like we were attracting better bands this year.
"I go to a lot of bluegrass shows and that one we had was as good as any of them." he said.
A 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 Shekinah.
"The 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."
Scheduled to been at noon, the gospel performances were delayed until almost 1 p.m..
Another 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 meals.
"We did very well with the food this year." said Hammond. "We did it ourselves and had a better handle on it."
An important aspect of the festival was the flurry of activity businesses in town reported as a result of the thousands of visitors in the area.
"It 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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