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Tennessee State Jamboree and Crafts Festival

Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival

Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival

Adopted on May 14, 1997.

In 1997, the Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival was designated by by House Joint Resolution 24 of the 100th General Assembly as the official state jamboree and crafts festival, and the US Congress as "The Tennessee and National Official Jamboree and Crafts Festival."

House Joint Resolution No. 24 was introduced on February 5, 1997 and signed by Governor Don Sundquist on May 14, 1997.

Tennessee State Jamboree and Crafts Festival
Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival

WCTE, Channel 22, a PBS affiliate based in nearby Cookeville, TN, annually televises the Jamboree and, in cooperation with the Southern Education Communication Association, syndicates the event to affiliates around the US and the world. This is an Old-Timed Appalachian Festival and old-time rules will prevail.

Smithville, Tennessee, the county seat of DeKalb County, Tennessee, is world renowned for its annual Fiddlers' Jamboree and Craft Festival, held on the first weekend in July. The Fiddler's Jamboree is a two-day festival of pure Appalachian crafts, music and dance, and contestants from all over the United States come to participate in the fun. The small town of 4,000 swells to nearly 80,000 over the two days, and an atmosphere of fellowship and fun surrounds the festivities.

The world famous annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree began as the idea of the late Congressman Joe L. Evins and his close friend, Berry C. Williams, as a way to showcase the progress made by the federally funded Model Cities Program begun in the early 1970's. Williams was the first event organizer, and after much planning, preparation and promotion, the first Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree was held on July 1-2, 1972 on a stage built on the steps of the DeKalb County Courthouse. Local WJLE Radio personality Ralph Vaughn and Charley Thompson served as backup announcers. Thompson also served as coordinator of the first Jamboree.

Present day audiences are estimated to be well over 100,000, with regular visitors from all 50 states and several foreign countries. The annual Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival is planned and organized by local merchants, business leaders and civic organizations under the direction of skilled Jamboree coordinator, Neil Dudney. The volunteer group is committed to the preservation and heritage of country and bluegrass music and the culture of arts and crafts.

In 1989, the Jamboree was incorporated as a non-profit corporation, and is governed by a Board of Directors made up of a representative from each of the sponsoring organizations.

The Jamboree has been featured in several nationally renowned magazines, including National Geographic Traveler. In addition, the Jamboree has been selected as one of the "Top 20 Tourist Favorites" by the Southeast Tourism Society and as one of the "Top 100 Tourist Events in North America" according to a list compiled by the American Bus Association.

From the dreams and determination of Congressman Joe L. Evins and Berry C. Williams, the Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival continues the preservation of the country, folk, bluegrass and Appalachian music and crafts arts.

For more information about the contact:

Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree
Mr. Neil Dudney
Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree Coordinator
P. O. Box 83
Smithville, TN 37166.

The office is located on the basement floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse, Public Square, Smithville, TN.
Telephone number: (615) 597-8500.

Tennessee House Joint Resolution 24 -1997

Filed for intro on 02/04/97
By Buck

A RESOLUTION to designate the Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival as the official jamboree and crafts festival of the State of Tennessee.

WHEREAS, it is fitting that this General Assembly should honor and congratulate those institutions and events that have been sources of great civic pride to their community and that seek to make the community a better place to live; and

WHEREAS, July 5, 1996, marked the 25th Anniversary of the Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival; and

WHEREAS, the late Congressman Joe L. Evins, conceived of a gathering of a group of area musicians to stage an Old-Time Appalachian Country Music Show in Smithville, Tennessee and suggested the same to the late Barry C. Williams; and

WHEREAS, Congressman Evins, Barry C. Williams along with the late J.G. "Bobo" Driver, the late Charles Gentry, Ralph Vaughn, Neil Dudney, and Linda Pack formed a committee to organize such an event; and

WHEREAS, on July 1, 1972, 714 musicians representing sixteen states delighted an audience of 8,000 people; and

WHEREAS, this exemplary event has grown so that it is now estimated that 110,000 people attended the two day event in 1996, with over 650 contestants representing forty-four states and four foreign countries; and

WHEREAS, the 1996 Jamboree lived up to the high standard of excellence that the event has established for music, crafts, hospitality and fellowship; and

WHEREAS, the event is televised each year and broadcast worldwide and has been featured in the National Geographic Traveler, Southern Living, as well as numerous other nationally known publications; and

WHEREAS, news of the Smithville Jamboree's accomplished musicians and inspiring music, skilled artisans and authentic crafts and overall excitement has reached the four corners of the globe, and videos of this exemplary event have been distributed all around the world; and

WHEREAS, in 1974, as a tribute to the Appalachian art and culture, 100 artisans and craftsmen were invited to sell and display authentic pioneer and contemporary crafts; and

WHEREAS, this aspect of the Jamboree has grown to over two hundred fifty participants; and

WHEREAS, the Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival is dedicated to the furtherance and preservation of Old-Time Appalachian country music, dance, and authentic Appalachian art and culture and this body wishes to take the opportunity to recognize the Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival organizers, committees, volunteers and the people of Smithville and DeKalb County, Tennessee; and

WHEREAS, the growing popularity and prominence of this outstanding event suggests to this General Assembly that it should be designated as an official function of the State of Tennessee; now, therefore,

SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 4, Chapter 1, Part 3, is amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section:

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ONE HUNDREDTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, THE SENATE CONCURRING, That we hereby designate the Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival as the official jamboree and crafts festival of the State of Tennessee.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That an appropriate copy of this resolution be prepared for presentation to the Board of Directors of the Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree and Crafts Festival with this final clause omitted from such copy.

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