Freedom & Fiddling: Something for everyone

The third annual Leitchfield Freedom and Fiddling Festival is taking over the courthouse square next weekend with a full day of music, rides, and more.

The festival—which combines the Leitchfield Freedom Festival and win Lakes National Fiddler Championship—will kick off on Wednesday, July 15 with the first day of the Cal Ripken State Baseball Tournament, organized by Jose Soto and continuing through Sunday.

Then, on Friday, July 17, the annual Twin Lakes Fiddle Festival Queen Pageant will be held in the Grayson County Middle School auditorium, starting at 6 p.m.

This year’s pageant will feature special guest Miss Teen Kentucky United States 2015 Adrienne Poole and will include four categories of competition: Little Miss (7-9), Little Princess (10-12), Princess (13-15), and Queen (16-21).

Also on Friday, a Leitchfield Square Historical Walking Tour will take place, starting at 6 p.m. at the Jack Thomas House, and Rod Run and Blow-Out Alley will be held on the courthouse square for antique car and truck participants.

Friday evening’s festivities will culminate with the annual Freedom Festival fireworks display, the soundtrack for which will be provided by K105. The fireworks will be shot off at dusk (around 8:45 to 9 p.m.).

Leitchfield Aquatic Center will stay open late so that attendees may watch the display from the water park, as well, Leitchfield Tourism Director Ilsa Johnson said.

On Saturday, July 18, festivities begin at 9 a.m. and continue into the evening. There is no charge for admission, attendees may come and go as they please, and after 2 p.m., all rides are free.

“We want to keep it like that,” Freedom and Fiddling Official Harold Miller said. “It’s something for the community.”

The fourth annual Twin Lakes National Fiddlers Championship (TLNFC) begins Saturday morning, and awards will be given out throughout the day.

Miller said, historically, the contest has had 120 participants, 70-80 of whom are fiddling competitors. Winning fiddlers will have the opportunity to compete in the national competition, as well.

Miller said the TLNFC has become one of the top fiddling competitions in the southeast United States in regards to the number of participants. This year, entrants from as far as Canada and California will participate in the contest.

Miller said attendance last year for Freedom and Fiddling was estimated to have been between 4,000 and 5,000 people, with around 2,000 in attendance at any given time.

For this year’s TLNFC, officials will be awarding more than $10,000 in prize money to winning musicians, an increase from last year, and rare for contests with no entry fee like TLNFC, Miller said.

Following the competition, a street dance will be held with a performance by The Jack Thomas Band, beginning at 9 p.m.

The City of Leitchfield is spending $8,000 on rides this year for the festival, as well, and some available to attendees will be a Euro Bungy, a mechanical bull, a trackless train, and a pirate ship, Johnson said.

Rides will be located on North Main Street and West Main Street, and craft vendors will be located in that area, as well.

Craft and informational vendors also still have time to reserve a spot during the festival. The deadline for additional vendors to register is Wednesday, July 15.

Other Saturday events include the Leitchfield Fire Department pancake breakfast at Leitchfield Fire Station 2 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.; free tours of the Jack Thomas House from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; the 4H 5k Freedom Run, registration for which begins at 7 a.m. at Leitchfield Fire Station 1; the antique car, truck, rat rod, and bike show, registration for which begins at 10 a.m.; and the Loud Stereo Contest, being held at the GCMS tennis courts, with registration beginning at 11 a.m.

“Come support it,” Johnson said.

Seated areas will be provided, but attendees of the festival are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.

Miller said he and the other Freedom and Fiddling Festival officials wish to thank everyone in the community who supported the festival financially, including the City of Leitchfield, the county, and private businesses and individuals.

“They really stepped up,” Miller said.

The City of Leitchfield will begin closing the courthouse square for the festival at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 17. The roads will re-open at 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 19.

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