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Old Fiddler's Convention in Galax draws tens of thousands to area

This is the 84th annual convention

GALAX, Va. – Ten of thousands of people and musicians are in Galax this week to celebrate the history of folk music at the annual Old Fiddler's Convention.

You could say 13-year-old Candace Kempa has an ear for music and a knack for playing just about any instrument.

"I started playing when I was 4 years old," said Kempa. "I play guitar, fiddle, mandarin, piano, ukulele and bass."

Monday night, Kempa took the stage to play in the youth competition at the 84th annual Old Fiddler's Convention.

"To me it gives me a chance to show how I've progressed through the years. Next year I'm going to enter my mandolin and guitar as well," said Kempa.

The weeklong convention attracts about 30,000 people.

Candace's mom, Cynthia Kempa, runs a shop in the heart of the city.

She opened up extra hours this week to prepare for all the foot traffic.

She grew up in Galax attending the convention and listening to the musicians. Now, both of her daughters have competed over the years.

"I think it's pretty amazing especially since I don't have no talent when it comes to music," said Cynthia Kempa.

The annual convention is put on by the Galax Moose Lodge #733 and raises money for the group's different charities.

At 91 years old, Moose Lodge Officer Oscar Hall says music has played a huge part in his life and he wants to keep this tradition going.

"Well, I just like old-time and bluegrass music. And I just try to keep it alive," Hall said.

That's because music is part of the heritage and the future of Galax.

"It inspires me to go a little bit further in my music and try to get as good as they are. The goal isn't winning. The goal is just having fun," said Candace Kempa.


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