Members of the group T-Acadie from Midcoast Maine performed last year at the East Benton Fiddler’s Contest, Convention and Bluegrass Festival. From left were Bill Olson, guitar; Pam Weeks, fiddle; and Jim Joseph, button accordion. The 50th edition of the festival is scheduled for Sunday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

BENTON — Pack some sunscreen, a couple of chairs and maybe an umbrella or two for shade and stop by Littlefield Farm on Sunday for the 50th East Benton Fiddler’s Contest, Convention and Bluegrass Festival.

Gates are scheduled to open at 10 a.m. and the music will extend through the day. A fiddler’s workshop, an adult and children’s fiddle contest, and children’s activities also planned. Tickets are $10 and admission is free for children 12 and younger.

Some of the bands scheduled to perform are the East Benton Jug Band, the Country Choir and the New Hampshire group The Double Crossers.

Sisters Chuck and Becky Littlefield, who live at the farm at 270 Richards Road, remember the first edition of the festival like it was yesterday — back when they were 10 and 13, respectively.

It launched in 1972 thanks to the efforts of their mother, Shirley Littlefield, with a big assist by their father, Millard “Red” Littlefield. Shirley Littlefield back then worked in housekeeping at Colby College and was friendly with the students and one in particular who was a musician looking for opportunities to perform. She invited that student and anyone else on campus who was interested over to the farm to join in a kind of music celebration. Becky Littlefield said her mother “loved them like they were her own.”

“(The festival) was something that she started and wanted to keep going,” Littlefield said. “As long as we can, no matter how old we get, we want to keep her legacy going.”


Children’s activities on Sunday will be held to the left of the stage and will include games and other offerings.

“It’s as much fun for the kids as it is for the adults,” Littlefield said.

Sherri Dodge, a friend of the family and a festival volunteer, said that there were probably 350 to 500 people at last year’s festival.

“People come from all over the country to participate,” she said. “Like Texas, California, Tennessee, Florida.”

Two food trucks will be available to feed the crowd: Madison-based The Worster House and Waterville-based I’d Wrap That.

Littlefield said she doesn’t know how many people to expect. Her hope is that the number will exceed 1,000.


“This Sunday is supposed to have really good weather,” Chuck Littlefield said. “My honest truth is that I’d love to see this house fill up like it was in 1983, when there was almost 4,000 people in this field.”

The National Weather Service is forecasting a sunny day with highs in the mid to upper 80s.

Becky Littlefield said there will be lots of water provided at the festival, and that a stand of trees will offer some shade.

“It is the biggest event of the year in East Benton,” she said, “the only event of the year in East Benton.”

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