Shady Grove Fiddle Fest moves

Published 9:00 am Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Giving Tree Band. Photo by Kevin Malella

For its 13th year, the Shady Grove Fiddle Fest, formerly held in Shady Grove Park in Berrien Springs, is dancing its way on down the road 10 miles to the Common in Buchanan on Aug. 25. Organizers have joined forces with Saturday in the Common to create a new and updated version of the popular festival which will blend music with locally grown food prepared by some the of the area’s favorite chefs.

This year, Chef Danielle Kaidan of Buchanan’s Back Door Cafe, together with Roseland Organic Farms, Dowagiac, and Frank Farms in Berrien Center, will present slow-cooked brisket served as pulled beef sandwiches with fruit pies.

Tim Carrigan, popular chef of Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve, will also feature Roseland meat in his hamburgers served with fresh corn on the cob from Vite’s Farms.

Uptown Kitchen, Granger, will send Jeffrey Nawrot, who will prepare local vegetables as various vegetarian/vegan dishes.

Seasonal fresh fruit smoothies will be served by Union Coffee House of Buchanan throughout the day.

So I think I have done my job in showing you where the food is. Now let me tell you more about this festival.

The cost makes it incredibly family friendly. There is none, except for a minimal $2 charge for the contest venue and for the food and beverages.

The banjo and mandolin, guitar, fiddle and band competitions will take place in the Tin Shop at 10 a.m. Those who wish to strum their way to fame can pick up the contest rules online and register to participate right up until show time.

On the main stage, entertainers will play throughout the day, so bring lawn chairs or a picnic blanket and be serenaded as you eat. Performances include Nobody’s Darlin’ and Rigs and Jeels. The highlight of the day will be when The Giving Tree Band takes to the stage at 8:30 p.m., following the announcement of the winner of the band contest.

Look at the online schedule, too, if you want to learn more about banjo, guitar or songwriting. Free workshops will be held in Pear’s Mill beginning at 11 a.m.

Lee LaVanway, longtime festival and music participant who has helped to organize the offering of local produce, the strongest draw to this festival is the community.

“Sure we have good music and great food, but this is about community … at the end of the day, we all live together, people don’t need to be fighting and feuding, they need to come together,” he said.

Organizer Jan Burda, musician and Berrien Springs instrument-crafter extraordinaire, agrees. “None of the elements stand alone,” she said.