Dulcimer lovers gather for festival

EVART — The world’s largest dulcimer festival will soon be back at the Osceola County 4-H FFA fairgrounds in Evart.

The Dulcimer Funfest will begin on Thursday, July 18, and go until Sunday, July 21.

This year is the 41st year for the annual event, hosted by the Original Dulcimer Players Club.

Pam Bowman has been attending the Funfest for 22 years and will teach workshops, perform with her group and have a booth set up at this year’s


Bowman said Funfest is a great place to experience all kinds of music in a variety of ways.

“It’s a player’s festival, so you don’t go to just watch,” Bowman said. “I mean, you can, but you can also find small groups all over the campground to play and if you ask they probably will let you join. I’ve been going long enough now it’s 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. Bowman said she and her friends plan on camping on July 4; the weekend after is when a trickle of dulcimer enthusiasts will make their way to Evart to await the start of the festival.

Bowman said the event 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,” Bowman said. “Hammered dulcimer players come from all over the country and they are top-notch.”

Kathy Rayman, president of ODPC, said 8,000 people have attended the event in previous years, but with the economy the numbers have been down somewhat. Rayman would like to see 5,000 people this year.

Rayman has traveled all over the country for other hammered dulcimer events and competitions, and often hears chatter in anticipation of the Funfest.

“People will talk about hoping they can eventually make it to Evart,” Rayman said. “It’s fun to be a promoter of that and meet people who are excited and see people want to come to your festival.”

The Funfest features more than 200 workshops and numerous acts in the evening concerts.

Thursday evening includes performances by Silver Strings Dulcimer Society, Doug Berch, The Golden Griffon Stringtet, Timothy Seaman, Nate Pultorak, Muzyka, Mitzie Collins and more.

David and Annette Lindsey, Wanda Degen, Scott Freeman, Butch Ross, David Mahler and other musical acts will perform on Friday night.

On Saturday night, the last night for evening concerts, will feature Bill Robinson and Friends, Matthew Dickerson, Pam Bowman, Ted Yoder, Mark Alan Wade and a handful of other musicians will close the festival.

For more information on the festival, performers and workshop times visit www.dulcimers.com.