Dateline: May 27th, 2022, Athens, AL – The Athens State University Foundation has been awarded a grant of $7,800 from the Alabama Tourism Department, thanks to the support of Senator Tom Butler.

Funds will be used to support the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention, which is held each October and brings some 10,000 individuals to the Athens-Limestone County, Alabama area. Funds will also be used to support the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Concert Series, a year-long series of concerts that coordinates with the annual Convention.

Both events draw visitors from outside the state of Alabama to the small town of Athens. The local economy benefits from these events as guests eat, shop, and participate in local business.

The 2022 Tourism Legislative Grants Program is designed to attract out-of-state tourists and generate revenues by promoting attendance at communitywide special events. Each Alabama State Representative received five $2,600 grants, and each State Senator received ten $3,900 grants. Since out-of-state visitors typically spend more money than local attendees, events with the potential to generate the highest returns to the state’s economy and bring tourists from other states were given the highest priority.

“We are extremely appreciative to Senator Butler for selecting the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention for this grant,” said Dr. Keith Ferguson, Vice President for University Advancement at Athens State University, and accepting official for the Athens State University Foundation. “The Fiddlers Convention is a special event that is highly anticipated each year, bringing attendees from across the South, the nation, and even internationally. These funds will help us continue the Fiddlers Convention’s growth and reach an even wider audience.”

The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention was established in 1967 after overwhelming support from two local fiddling contests. With a stated goal of reviving the tradition of old-time music, the annual event held on the historic campus of Athens State University is known as the “Granddaddy of Mid-South Fiddlers Conventions.” Each year, hundreds of contestants visit Athens, Alabama, to compete for coveted titles – including “state champion” in over a dozen categories – along with “shade-tree players” who bring their own instruments to perform in impromptu jam sessions. Learn more and plan to join the fun at the 2022 Convention on October 6th through 8th at

Athens State University – Founded in 1822, Athens State is Alabama’s oldest continuously-operated institution of higher learning. As one of only a few “upper-division” universities in the entire country, Athens State is a destination for transfer students and students with more than 36 hours of credit who may have paused their education and are seeking to finish their degree. Offering over 50 undergraduate degree programs and options in addition to graduate programs, Athens State focuses on providing affordable, flexible, and high-quality options for all learners. At Athens State, we understand it isn’t how you began your education that matters. It’s how you finish. And a strong finish is only the beginning.