The 43rd Annual Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival will hold the opening ceremony, hosted by Mayor Shon Byrum, at 9:30 am today, Thursday, July 12 at the Towne Square Community Center in Winchester, Indiana. The festival will run from July 12-14 and will feature artists from around the country.
The International Hawaiian Steel Guitar Club was started in 1974 in Michigan by Norman Moser. The first convention was held the following year in the basement of club president, Charles E. Moore, a Winchester resident. Upon Moore’s retirement in 1987, the club was reorganized and gained a new name: the Aloha International Steel Guitar Club.
Since its humble beginnings, the club has grown to become most prominent Hawaiian steel guitar club in the US, continuing to hold its annual convention here in Winchester, Indiana, albeit in grander venues than its president’s basement. Now held at the Towne Square Community Center, the three-day event will feature stellar performances by club members, special guest performer Bobby Ingano, dancers, and a luau.
Club Vice President Joyce Briggs, her husband and club treasurer Dick Briggs from Macy, Indiana, Ivan and Dee Reddington from Florida, and Dick Martini from Michigan arrived in Winchester Tuesday, July 11 to put the finishing touches on setup for the convention. “The Three Stooges”, as the ladies call the gentlemen, “play from early morning until late night and they just love it. They’d rather play than eat.” And play they did, in the lobby of the hotel.
Mr. Briggs has been playing since he was 15 years old, and the years of dedication to his playing show in the beauty of the music that filled the lobby. The three gentlemen will be performers during the convention and if the quality of their impromptu jam session at the hotel are any indication, this is an event you will not want to miss.
The players will be at Mrs. Wicks on Thursday from 5-7 pm to hold a jam session while customers enjoy their supper and a slice of pie. Friday night at the Winchester hotel they will again jam out. The community can stop by and enjoy snacks and pie provided by Randolph County Tourism.
On Saturday evening, following another day of performances, the convention will close out with a luau, with dinner, music, and dancers. The cost is $30 for dinner and a show with catering provided by Romers. The menu will include:
Chicken Breast Divine
Marinated Pork Chops
Whipped Potatoes with Chives
Green Beans Almondine
Old Fashioned Dressing
BLT Vinaigrette Salad
Chocolate Drizzled Fruit Kebabs
This year’s convention costs $10 a day for AISGC members and $12 for non-members or you can purchase a 3-day ticket for $30 for club members and $36 for non-members. There will be a raffle with great prizes and tables for vendors will be set up in the Towne Square Community Center. Proceeds from the sales will help bring in guest performers for next year’s convention.
Today it all begins. So head over to the Towne Square Community Center to enjoy the sweet music of Hawaiian steel guitars, played by some incredible performers. Kick back, relax, and dream about the tropical breeze. The performance schedule (courtesy of Aloha International Steel Guitar Club) is below.