West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture & History

2024 Vandalia Gathering Contest Winners Announced

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia’s champion old-time fiddle, bluegrass banjo and mandolin players competed for top honors on Saturday, May 25, during the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History’s 47th annual Vandalia Gathering. On Sunday, May 26, old-time banjo, lap dulcimer, flat-pick guitar musicians and liars vied for awards.

The winners were:

Youth Old-Time Fiddle (age 15 and under)      

1st place – Liam Farley, Chapmanville

2nd place – Nate Atkinson, Hurricane

3rd place – Jo Butterworth, Hurricane

Old-Time Fiddle (age 59 and under)

1st place – Tessa McCoy, Greenville

2nd place – Jake Krack, Marlinton

3rd place – Jesse Milnes, Elkins

4th place – Chance McCoy, Greenville

5th place – Emily Miller, Elkins

Senior Old-Time Fiddle (age 60 and over)

1st place – Jenny Allinder, Point Pleasant

2nd place – Dan Kessinger, St. Marys

3rd place – Gerry Milnes, Elkins

4th place – Bob Smakula, Montrose

5th place – John Longwell, Gandeeville

Mandolin (all ages)

1st place – Sawyer Chapman, Charleston

2nd place – Tristan Dennis, Morgantown

3rd place – Ezekiel Green, Beckley

4th place – Dan Kessinger, St. Marys

5th place – Robin Kessinger, St. Albans

Bluegrass Banjo (all ages)

1st place – Brandon Green, Beckley

2nd place – Logan Hoy, Belle

3rd place – Brian “Buck” Minor, Bridgeport

4th place – Carter Eddy, Parkersburg

5th place – Emmett Carper, West Union

Lap Dulcimer (all ages)

1st place – Helena Lee, Cross Lanes

2nd place – Janie Miles, Pliny

3rd place – Jim Probst, Hamlin

4th place – Melissa Dennison, Frametown

Old-Time Banjo (59 and under)

1st place – Trevor Hammons, Marlinton

2nd place – Chance McCoy, Greenville

3rd place – Ryan Brandenburg, Oak Hill

4th place – Pete Kosky, Charleston

5th place – Tessa McCoy, Greenville

Senior Old-Time Banjo (age 60 and over)

1st place – Gerry Milnes, Elkins

2nd place – Jim Mullins, St. Albans

3rd place – Jay Lockman, Green Bank

4th place – Paul Gartner, Yawkey

5th place – John Morris, Ivydale

Flat-pick Guitar (all ages)

1st place – Robin Kessinger, St. Albans

2nd place – Jakob Thomas, South Charleston

3rd place – Dan Kessinger, St. Marys

4th place – DJ Kessinger, Charles Town

5th place – Lucas Nichols, Charleston

Liars (all ages)

Biggest Liar (1st place and Goldenseal magazine’s Golden Shovel award) – April Ritter, Charleston

Bigger Liar (2nd place) – Susan McCauley, Ashford

Big Liar (3rd place) – John Mullins, Dunbar

The annual Vandalia Gathering is a free celebration of the traditional arts, music, dance, stories, crafts and foods of West Virginia. The Culture Center and State Capitol Complex grounds host this expanding family-style gathering each year on Memorial Day weekend. The unique blending of ethnic and cultural heritage combines an atmosphere as comfortable as a family reunion with the excitement of a state fair. The statewide folk festival, named for the proposed 14th colony, pays tribute to the state’s ethnic heritage through a variety of exhibitions and programs.

Vandalia Gathering is a program of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History. For more information, contact Andrea Nelson, public information specialist for the department, at (304) 558-0220 or Andrea.E.Nelson@wv.gov.

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