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Fiddlers Grove begins 19th season Saturday with Founders Day 2010

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Wilson County Convention & Visitors Bureau announces that the pioneer spirit of Wilson County will be recaptured by visitors at Founder’s Day on Saturday, June 26, through bluegrass music, whole hog roasts, tall tales, quilting, blacksmithing, and weaving, a stump rally, Victorian dress, tin-type photography, and greased watermelon races at Fiddler’s Grove Historic Village.Founder’s Day will also be the grand re-opening for the Stringtown General Store, where corn cob jelly to scuppernong cider can be tasted at Fiddler’s Grove inside the 1872 mercantile. Besides pork barbecue plates, there will also be hot dogs, cookies, and lemonade for sale. Admission will be free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to Fiddler’s Grove, which is now in its 19th year of operation at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center which includes the Wilson County Fairgrounds. Cakes will also be auctioned to raise money for its preservation.“My grandfather and my daddy came in the early 1900s from Granville in a horse and wagon to Lebanon with all the belongings they had,” said resident Jimmy Crawford, who will discuss hand weaving at Founder’s Day on an antique loom. “Many of my relatives were employed at the Lebanon Woolen Mills, including my two grandmothers, my father for about 38 years, my mother for a short while, my son for around three months, and me for 40 years.”Ladies and gentlemen can enter the “Best-Dressed Victorians” competition for prizes at Founder’s Day, along with young boys and girls. Tin-type looking portraits will be made in the village, which will also have croquet matches, horseshoe pitching, sack races, and other games.The Fiddler’s Grove Blacksmith Association will be making “courting candleholders,” which fathers would light in the Victorian Era so that male suitors romancing their eligible daughters would know to go home after the wax burned down in the front parlors.An “Old-Time Political Stump Rally” will be waged at Founder’s Day, just months before Tennessee’s new governor is elected. From atop fallen logs and tree stumps, Wilson County native James C. “Lean Jimmy” Jones debated the incumbent Gov. James K. Polk around Lebanon. For the state’s highest office, Jones upset Polk in 1841 and 1843 to become a two-time governor of Tennessee.Visitors can also see two historic landmarks of prominent Americans -- Sam Houston’s Law Office and W.E. Du Bois’ one-room Wheeler School -- which were relocated to Fiddler’s Grove. Sam Houston was the only man to ever serve as governor of two U.S. states – Tennessee and Texas -- but he started as an attorney in 1818 in Lebanon where he rented this original log cabin for $1 per month for a year and half on the Square.The founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), W.E. Du Bois was the first teacher in the 1860s at Wheeler School to educate blacks near Alexandria after the Civil War. During Founder’s Day, chalkboard lessons can be heard inside the Wheeler School.The title of Fiddler’s Grove came from one of Wilson County’s first settlers, Edward (Neddy) Jacobs, who often played the instrument at his cabin in Lebanon at the Town Spring. Since its dedication on April 17, 1991 with seven buildings, Fiddler’s Grove has expanded to more than 50 structures in Lebanon, where the Wilson County Fair will also be held this Aug. 13-21 at the Ward Agricultural Center. For more details, call 443-2626, or go to
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