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For 15 years Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention has been managed by a group of volunteers who are committed to the preservation and promotion of traditional music. We are a sub-committee of the Caldwell County Arts Council 501(c)(3).
Our mission is to:
Preserve and promote the cultural heritage and resources of Happy/Yadkin Valley through an annual music festival that highlights traditional old-time and bluegrass music and rural traditions, doing so in a way that provides wholesome family activities and protects our farmland and community values while promoting trust between the community and the event.
Being a not-for-profit event, all funds beyond those necessary to ensure the continuation of the festival will go to youth scholarships and music programs that preserve traditional music, dance and instrument making activities.
Our ability to offer low admission fees is only possible by the support of volunteers, our musicians and sponsors.
The Upper Yadkin River Valley in Caldwell and Wilkes counties, also known locally as Historic Happy Valley, has been farmed continuously since the 18th century. Some of the first settlers to arrive to the Cherokee and Catawba inhabited valley came in the late 1700s.
Happy Valley was a fertile region, and agriculture played an important role to families that settled in the valley. A number of farmers in the valley today are descendants of these early families and a significant amount of farmland bordering the river is still used for grazing cattle and cultivating corn and hay. In addition, some residents maintain occupational traditions that are holdovers from earlier generations, such as training and working draft animals, cultivating “heritage” vegetables and fruits, and constructing traditional pole and log barns and outbuildings.
Local farmers and their neighbors pass down stories associated with some significant historical events that have occurred in Historic Happy Valley. The Over Mountain Men on their way to battle at Kings Mountain in 1780 used the dirt path, still visible in places, that runs along the Yadkin River. The community of Elkville was home to and the base of operations for Daniel Boone during the years he explored and settled Kentucky.
Thomas Dula (known as Tom Dooley), a local man who served with distinction during the Civil War, was accused of murdering a neighbor, Laura Foster, May of 1865. The events surrounding this crime and Dula’s subsequent trial and execution live on in a now-famous ballad, “Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley,” which is still performed by remarkable singers and musicians from the region.