Special Event


Tallgrass Prairie Fiddle Festival - Competition

Homestead National Historical Park



Dates & Times


Saturday, May 29, 2021


12:00 PM


3 hours

Type of Event



aFiddle Festival Returns to

Homestead National Historical Park

The annual Tallgrass Prairie Fiddle Festival has been set for Saturday, May 29, 2021. The onsite activities will start with a jam session at 11:00 AM. The competition with over $3,000 in award monies will start at 12:00 PM. Registration for the competition will be from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM. The Tallgrass Prairie Fiddle Festival is the place to be for musicians and music enthusiasts of all ages. The event will be free of charge and held outside of the Homestead Education Center. The competition is dependent on weather, so please keep an eye on Facebook account for any event updates

The competition is geared towards all ability levels and will have a Jr. division and Sr. division. There will be a separate Legends division for those who have won the competition in the past. We will not be holding the acoustic band division this year. The day begins virtually with Debby Greenblatt teaching a free virtual workshop in the morning. Please email amber_kirkendall@nps.gov if you wish to attend the free workshop. Debby will be teaching three different tunes by ear.

It is a day for fiddlers of all ages and experience levels to come together much like they did when the first pioneers arrived in the 1800s and began settling the prairie. The sounds of fiddlers could often be heard at community gatherings signaling good health and prosperity.

An accompanist will be available for players. If you wish to take advantage of the accompanist, please bring a 2nd copy of your sheet music. The one rule which makes this competition unique is that all songs must have been in existence by 1936 when Homestead National Monument of America was established.

The day ends with the announcement of winners. Trophies are given to the top three finishers in the Junior, Senior, Legends, and Acoustic Band divisions. Since the start of the Festival, the Coffin Family Foundation has provided funding for the cash prizes. Leigh F. Coffin started the foundation to help support youth education. His son, Leigh M., said “the Tallgrass Prairie Fiddle Festival and Acoustic Band Contest fits into his father’s vision for the community.” Additional support for this event is provided by Humanities Nebraska,


·There are 3 main Divisions of Competition

—Junior– for folks who have played less than 5 years. —Senior– for folks who have played 5 years or more. —Legends– for folks who have won 1st place in the Senior Division in previous years.

Each contestant in the 3 Divisions will play 1-3 songs from the following categories. Each song will be played twice. The time limit for each contest is 6 minutes. Contestants will lose points if they exceed the time limit.

—a Hoedown (upbeat danceable tune in two or four) —a Waltz (danceable tune in three) —a Tune of Choice (a tune other than a hoedown or a waltz, such as jigs, polkas, rags, blues, etc.)

Contestant will be judged on pitch, tone, rhythm, and presentation (showmanship, interpretation, flair, creativity, charisma, adherence to the rules, etc.).

Trophies and cash prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in the Junior, Senior, and Legends Divisions.

Contestants in all divisions are encouraged to announce each tune and to give a one sentence explanation of its origin. All contest songs must have been in existence when the Homestead National Historical Park was established in 1936. All decisions of the judges are final.

Reservation or Registration: No

Contact Information

Park Ranger
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