EVART — Hundreds of men, women, teens and children created music on Thursday as the annual Dulcimer Funfest kicked off in Evart.

Located on the Osceola County 4-H FFA Fairgrounds and hosted by the Original Dulcimer Players Club, the festival welcomes musicians of all experience levels from Michigan and beyond. Though the event focuses on preserving and promoting the dulcimer, many other acoustic instruments can be seen and heard around every corner of the grounds and barns. At a moment's notice, jam sessions featuring fiddle, upright bass, recorder, guitar, hurdy-gurdy and ukulele can break out, enticing passersby to stop and listen for a spell.

"It seems like we have a huge number of people in the workshops," said ODPC President Kathy Rayman. "We have a great team that helps put this on and a great fair board that welcomes us every year and is very accommodating."

Vendors filled two barns to sell instruments, hammers, music albums, cases, string replacements, and other odds and ends related to the acoustic music. Throughout each day, instructors from across the country teach lessons for free and to as many people as can squeeze into a class.

"The teachers and vendors feel we're important enough to come," Rayman said. "We have earned the reputation and we take it very seriously. We feel the dulcimer is important and we want to carry it on for future generations.

"What I'm really excited about is seeing the 20-somethings. They are playing music with the 30-somethings, 40-somethings, 50-something and older. I'm so amazed."