Dulcimer lovers begin filling Evart fairgrounds

EVART — Thousands of people celebrating one of, if not THE largest dulcimer festivals in the world, will soon fill the Osceola County 4-H FFA fairgrounds in Evart.

The Dulcimer Funfest will begin on Thursday, July 14, and go until Sunday, July 17.

This year is the 44th year for the annual event, hosted by the Original Dulcimer Players Club.

Organizers have once again planned time for teaching workshops, performing with groups of like-minded musicians, and wandering the many music-orientated vendors’ booths set up for this year’s festival.

The Funfest is a great place to experience all kinds of music in a variety of ways. It’s a players’ festival, so those participating don’t go to just watch. There are always small groups jamming all over the campground to enjoy with and if you ask, they’ll probably invite any musician to join. The Funfest is like a great big musical family reunion.

People from all over the country head to the Dulcimer Funfest weeks before the actual start of the event to camp at the fairgrounds. Some begin camping on July 4 - or even earlier.  For weeks before the festival,  a trickle of dulcimer enthusiasts make their way to Evart to await the start of the fun.

The Funfest is very family-friendly with a lot to offer for the one-time $5 entrance fee.

Those attending pay $5 for a ribbon and keep the ribbon for the entire weekend, giving them access to workshops and shows held throughout the festival.

There are wonderful evening shows. Hammered dulcimer players come from all over the country and they are considered by most attending to be top-notch.

Organizers note some 8,000 people have attended the event in previous years. In recent years, however, influenced by gas prices and the general economy, numbers have been down somewhat. Still, all attending will find a warm welcome - whether 5,000 or 8,000.

All over the country hammered dulcimer aficionados and other non-electric musical music lovers compare notes in anticipation of the Funfest. People around the nation recognize Evart as a capital of dulcimer music. A big part of the fun is meeting people who are excited about good music and willing to share their knowledge and skill.

The Funfest features hundreds of workshops, classes, and impromptu tutorials as well as numerous stage acts in the evening concerts.

Just some of this year’s stage acts include: Pam Bowman, Carry It On, Matthew Dickerson, Hedda Doyle and the Skat Cats, Tina Gugeler, (2015 National Hammer Dulcimer Champion), John and Karen Keane, Ilace Mears, Sarah Morgan, Christine Shoemaker, Squirrel’s Nest, Sweet Friends In Music and many, many more.

For more information on the festival, performers and workshop times visit http://evartdulcimerfest.org.