Youth keep fiddling heritage going

Olivia Cunningham of Fulton plays in the Old Time Fiddle Contest at the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair Saturday afternoon. Cunningham won first place in the youth division, taking home a trophy and a $75 prize.

Olivia Cunningham of Fulton plays in the Old Time Fiddle Contest at the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair Saturday afternoon. Cunningham won first place in the youth division, taking home a trophy and a $75 prize. Photo by Katherine Cummins.

The Old-Time Fiddle Contest at the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair drew a small crowd of musicians to the fairgrounds Saturday afternoon, many of them youths under the age of 16.

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Lynn Wells, accompanied by Gene Stephens on guitar, fiddles his way to a second-place finish in the open division at the Old Time Fiddle Contest Saturday afternoon at the Kingdom of Callaway County Fair.

Seven-year-old Carson Safranski of Auxvasse, was back for his second year playing in the contest, competing in the novice class for youths ages 10 and younger.

Safranski, who told The Fulton Sun last year he got started playing the fiddle after hearing Charlie Daniels on a Geico commercial, said Saturday he has stuck with it because “I really, really wanted to play, and it looked like fun.”

After finishing sixth in the youth division last year, he said he wanted to come back just to have another good time.

“I’m just gonna play, and I think it’s going to be really fun,” Safranski said, noting he would be competing with some Irish tunes.

After taking second place in the junior division last year, Carlie Cunningham, 12, of Fulton, also returned, along with sisters Sophia, Olivia and Marta.

“I like playing the fiddle because it’s something different,” Carlie Cunningham said, noting she has been playing the fiddle for five years after getting started first with classical violin. “I just like the music, especially hoe-downs because they’re fast most of the time.”

Carlie Cunningham won second place in the youth division again this year, behind older sister Olivia.

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