Festival in Peart Park

Sahuaro Scramblers perform during the annual Fine Art Explosion art show and Casa Grande’s first fiddle competition, the Grande Fiddle Championship, Saturday March 14, 2020 in Peart Park.

CASA GRANDE — One by one, 48 competitive fiddlers took to the stage in Peart Park on Saturday as Casa Grande’s first fiddle festival got underway.

As one of the few area events not canceled due to the coronavirus, the Grande Fiddle Championship and the Casa Grande Fine Art Explosion art show attracted several hundred people.

“We had a couple hundred people in the audience all day and the park was lively and full,” said Tiffany Dietrich, one of the organizers of the Grande Fiddle Championship.

The Florence Music Festival was also held Saturday and Sunday, but the Road to Country Thunder concert later this month has been canceled. As of Monday, Country Thunder was still scheduled for April 16-19. Organizers said they plan an announcement by the end of the month.

The fiddle festival featured 48 competitive entries from across the region and nearly 20 musicians who attended just to jam with other musicians.

“Some of these musicians didn’t actually enter the contest, they came to play guitar with the fiddlers, play as part of a band or to jam with the fiddlers,” Dietrich said.

She said that with concerns over coronavirus, she wasn’t sure how large of an audience to expect and was happy to see hundreds attend.

“We expect to easily double these numbers in 2021,” she said. “I heard all positive comments. The music was amazing and the weather could not have been better.”

Winners were announced in several categories:

Open category

  • First, Jess Barry
  • Second, Will MacDonald
  • Third, Maria McArthur
  • Fourth, Macy Kienbaum
  • Fifth, John Kennedy

Senior category

  • First, “Henry The Fiddler”
  • Second, Dan Everts
  • Third, Dave Brinkman
  • Fourth, Laura Barry
  • Fifth, Mark Maxwell


  • First, Maria McArthur
  • Second, John Kennedy
  • Third, Lloyd LaPlant

Junior Accompanist

  • First, Ben Barry
  • Second, Brie Dietrich
  • Third, Jacob Alpert
  • Fourth, Killian Morris

Adult category

  • First, Janet Shelby
  • Second, Katie Bonn
  • Third, Jim Carlile
  • Fourth, Kevin DeRusha

Young Adult

  • First, Madi Dietrich
  • Second, Caitlin Wilson

Junior category

  • First, Lee MacDonald
  • Second, Danielle Carter
  • Third, Clay Barry
  • Fourth, Rebecca Bayless
  • Fifth, Elisabeth Kunkle
  • Sixth, Hannah Bayless

Junior-junior category

  • First, Ranelle Dietrich
  • Second, Brie Dietrich
  • Third, Elie Barry
  • Fourth, Maggie Cucitro
  • Fifth, Ben Barry
  • Sixth, Emily Fletcher

Small fry category

  • First, Aspen Dietrich
  • Second, David Fletcher
  • Third, Sawyer Dietrich

Novice category

  • First, Aliyah Alpert
  • Second, Amy Barry
  • Third, Shelly Wilson
  • Fourth, Killian Morris
  • Fifth, Cheryl Shirley
  • Sixth, Adriana Dale

Band category

  • First, The Arizona Wildflowers
  • Second, Six Gal ‘n Hat
  • Third, Sahuaro Scramblers
  • Fourth, Last Minute Pick Up

Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.