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24The sixth annual Great Big Yam Potatoes Old-Time Music Gathering and Fiddle Contest kicks off at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 18 at Historic Jefferson College. Enjoy performances by some of Mississippi’s best old-time musicians on the outdoor stage, watch talented fiddlers young and old vying for the prize in the fiddle contest, or join a jam session in the shade of the majestic live oaks.

“This is one of my favorite events all year,” said Robin Person, Historic Jefferson College director. “The sound of the banjos and fiddles takes you back to the early days of the college when it opened in 1811.”

Old-time music string performances begin at 9 a.m. with Johnny and Beth Rawls. At 10 a.m. Jason Smith plays, followed by Reeves Jones at 11 a.m., Tim Avalon and Miss Peggy Dudley at noon, Connie and Hal Jeannes at 1 p.m., Pat and Cindy O’Mire’s Cajun Revue at 2 p.m.,  and Jack Magee at 3 p.m.

The fiddle contest begins at 10 a.m. Children ages one to eleven will compete in the PeeWee division, followed by the Juniors division for ages twelve to seventeen. Older fiddlers take to the stage after lunch. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and is $5 for each category. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three fiddlers in each category. Fiddle players wanting to play, but not compete pay a $10 fee for each category.

Arthur Davis of the Old Country Store in Lorman, whose cooking was featured in Southern Living and on the Food Network, returns this year as food vendor.

A complete schedule of events and contest registration is available at For more information call Robert Gray at 601-984-1210 or email

The Great Big Yam Potatoes Old-Time Music Gathering and Fiddle Contest is presented by the Mississippi Fiddlers Association. The Mississippi Fiddlers Association was formed in late 2007 to advance interest in rural fiddle music.

Historic Jefferson College is located in Washington, four miles north of Natchez. Jefferson College was the first institution of higher learning in the Mississippi Territory. Jefferson Military College, as it came to be known, closed its doors in 1964 after serving as a prep school from 1866. The Department of Archives and History acquired and restored the property. Today the site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open throughout the week, allowing visitors a look at the restored student dormitory, dining hall, kitchen buildings, and other historic sites. A nature trail winds by Saint Catherine Creek, and a museum and gift shop are located in the visitor center. Hours are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. The grounds are open daily sunup to sundown. Admission is free. For more information call 601-442-2901.

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