A CLOSER LOOK

Tickets

Weekend at the gate: $58

Friday or Sunday all day: $20

Saturday all day: $28

Children 16 and under: free

Camping

Hookups on first-come basis: $15, Friday-Sunday

Location

Just off Route 25 in Cornish, 2 miles on South Hiram Road

Flat-picking and banjo contests, dances, workshops, plus nearly a dozen performing bands, are bound to bring hundreds of bluegrass music lovers this weekend to the Ossipee Valley Bluegrass Festival in South Hiram.

The Ossipee Valley Fairgrounds is hosting the event, organized by Raetha Stoddard and Bill Johnson.

The bands range from homegrown talent like The Muddy Marsh Ramblers to fiddler April Verch, who lives in Ontario. Music begins Friday at 1:30 p.m. The last band is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday.

“It feels like coming home,” said Ted DeMille, guitarist and singer for North Star about playing the festival. “People have been so supportive of what we’ve done.”

It will be a bittersweet homecoming for the band; banjo player and guiding light Bill Smith died earlier this year.

“We played together for 12 years. He was the straw that stirred the drink,” DeMille said about Smith. “But he would not want us to stop playing.”

Smith’s legacy will also be honored with a banjo raffle to benefit his family. Smith was the winner of the 2006 festival banjo contest. For $5 a ticket or $50 for 12 tickets, a musician or fan could win an Ome Sweetgrass Megatone 200 Bluegrass banjo valued at more than $4,000. Raffle tickets can also be bought at www.ossipeevalley.com/raffle.

The banjo contest returns this year, with the flat-picking guitar contest and songwriting contest. DeMille, who helped winnow the entries to the songwriting contest from 60 to 20, said the field was strong this year. DeMille will also help judges Bill Morrissey and Audie Blaylock (who is also performing at the festival with fiddler Michael Cleveland) pick the winner.

Musicians can also attend workshops throughout the day on Saturday, and there will be barn and contra dances Friday and Saturday nights.

Camping at the Ossipee Valley Fairgrounds is available. For more information on the Ossipee Valley Bluegrass Festival, visit www.ossipeevalley.com.

The MuellersA blugrass weekendThe Wilders


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