The seventh annual Lanchester Fiddlers' Picnic is set for Saturday, Aug. 18, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Landis Woodland Preserve, 610 Zion Hill Road, Atglen. This year's event will feature a wider variety of performers and musical styles than ever before.
"I wanted to make it a variety this year - country, folk, bluegrass and old-time (music), and I'm pretty much on the way to doing that," musical organizer and master of ceremonies Dave Armstrong said.
The main stage at the Fiddlers' Picnic will open at 10 a.m. with young performers from the Cab Calloway School of the Arts in Wilmington, Del. Other performing groups that have already indicated they plan to attend include returning favorite the Orpheus Supertones, a group that is well-known in old-time music and has performed internationally. Progressive bluegrass band Acoustic Turnpike is scheduled to play, as well as traditional bluegrass band Short Notise.
Another bluegrass group on the schedule, J-Tyme, is composed of members of the Horst family. "It's a nice up-and-coming family playing bluegrass," Armstrong noted.
A somewhat different sound will be provided by autoharp artist David Kilby of Oxford. "He played for me early on in the second year (of the event), and I was pretty much blown away by his talent," Armstrong said, adding, "I'm hoping to have a gospel singer at the end who has a good repertoire of music and has written songs."
The work of organizing the event is a team effort between Armstrong, event organizer Jim Groff and West Sadsbury Township.
"I always wanted to have something like this happen in Christiana," Groff said. "When (former West Sadsbury Township supervisor) Jim Landis had approached me about using their park, I didn't know anything about the park. We walked almost the whole property and I thought, 'This is perfect for what I want to do.'"
While the main stage will be the center of activities, there will be many opportunities to venture into the woods for impromptu jam sessions. Those who would like to perform for the larger audience may sign up for stage time as it is available. All bluegrass, old-time and country styles are welcome in the all-acoustic format.
"I'll have plenty of spots open for stage time," Armstrong said. "I'd like to encourage (everyone) - especially the young people - to come out and play music."
In addition to the music, there will be a free hayride around the grounds, a violin vendor and lots of food. Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church members are scheduled to return this year with their popular fish fry.
"We try to keep it a community affair. All of the food vendors are local nonprofits," West Sadsbury Township supervisor Barry Edwards said. "The park is almost a hidden gem; people don't know what's back there. Once you get up there, I think everybody's pleasantly surprised with what they find."
Handicapped-accessible parking and musician parking will be available on-site during the event. Others should follow the signs to off-site parking. There will be shuttles running from the park to the parking lots all day, plus there will be golf carts on the grounds for anyone who needs assistance getting around the park. There is full shade around the main stage, which will help to provide relief from summer temperatures. Attendees should bring their own blankets or lawn chairs for seating. No alcohol is permitted on the grounds.
Admission is free, but a parking fee will be collected. There is no rain date for the event. In the case of severe weather, readers may check http://www.westsadsburytwp.org for updates. Information in advance of the event is available by calling the West Sadsbury Township office at 610-857-5969.