By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: Other | Issue: September 2014
Saturday headliners at the 35th annual Bluegrass & Chili Festival include Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, one of the top touring acts with a fan base second to none.
Bluegrass, country, gospel, contemporary Christian, classic rock, Western swing classics and some R&B music are on tap for the 35th annual Bluegrass & Chili Festival at the Claremore Expo Center grounds, set for September 4-6, according to Dell Davis, Chamber of Commerce CEO. “Celebrating our 35th year as a festival is a pretty big deal,” she says. “That’s a long time for a festival to last and maintain a great reputation.”
Weekend festivities will include three stages of free concerts by national and regional artists. Headliners scheduled to appear include a host of award winners. The Thursday night line-up includes Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. “This group is one of the most versatile touring groups,” says Davis. “Russell can sing and play the western swing classics, bluegrass, country and pop tunes. Making their first trip to Oklahoma and the festival is Flatt Lonesome, a new, young bluegrass group that has just been nominated for IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year.”
On Friday evening, CMA award-winning Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder will rock the Expo Center grounds, as will festival favorite Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, who are celebrating their 35th year as an award-winning band.
Emerging artist Adkins & Loudermilk will be performing Friday and Saturday. Dave Adkins, a former rocker who left LA to pursue an alternate career path, will bring an entirely different scope and range with his music.
Saturday headliners include Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, one of the top touring acts with a fan base second to none, as well as the Grascals, who recently recorded a new theme song with Tom Wolf of “American Pickers.” Also performing on Saturday will be Mountain Heart, a band whose music appeals to fans of the modern new-grass style.
In addition to the free concerts, other musical entertainment highlights include the “Junior Showcase” designed to give talented youth, 21 and under, stage exposure and experience in a non-competitive showcase. An acoustic guitar will be awarded by a drawing of all participants.
Area vocalists will also be competing for “The Best Country in the City Vocalist Competition.” Vocalists of all ages will be vying for a $500 cash prize. Judges selected potential contestants via a submitted demo in August. The final contest is Saturday at 8 p.m.
The festival will sizzle with many other family activities including a Festival Market inside the Expo, where a wide variety of crafts, services and businesses will be showcased. A Kiddie Korral with a variety of free activities for the buckaroos will be available, along with an Open Car Show, sporting classic and current beauties.
Of course, you don’t want to miss sampling the award-winning chili being prepared onsite by those competing in the Mid-America Regional Chili Cook-off, the Oklahoma Championship and Salsa Competition. The International Chili Society Division winning cooks will represent the Festival in the World Cook-off that boasts a $25,000 first prize. A non-profit division is open to non-profits, schools and churches, with the winner receiving $1,000. Open and corporate division teams will compete for awards and bragging rights. Festival attendees can get in on the “hot fun” by sampling chili with an official taster kit to help determine the Will Rogers People’s Choice winning chili.
The Festival officially kicks off at 4 p. m. on Thursday, September 4 with the Festival Market. Concerts begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Saturday festivities run from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. There is no admission fee, and on-site parking is only $10 per car load.
Festival major sponsors include the City of Claremore, RCB Bank, GRDA, Big Country 99.5, KOTV-The News on 6, BancFirst, Claremore Chamber and RSU Public TV, with assistance from the Oklahoma Arts Council and National Endowment of the Arts.
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After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.