You never know what will happen at the O'Fallon Fiddle Contest and Bluegrass Show.
Last year, 15-year-old Missouri fiddler Trustin Baker was named both junior champion and grand champion, beating out contestants of all ages.
"We gave him a 4-foot trophy, and he was only 4-foot-2," said organizer George Portz. "The crowd just went nuts over him. They gave him a standing ovation after his performance, and that hasn't happened in a long time."
Trustin plays in a band called The Baker Family with his sister on vocals and mandolin, his brother on upright bass and his mother on vocals and guitar.
Portz expects Trustin to return this year to defend his title, but he can't predict what will happen.
"It's an open contest," Portz said. "Anybody can show up that night and compete."
The 34th annual contest is from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the O'Fallon Knights of Columbus Hall.
The evening will kick off with a performance by the Thunder and Lightning Cloggers at 5 p.m. Fiddling follows at 6 p.m.
"We're just so proud of this contest," said Portz, a champion fiddler who leads the band George Portz and his Friends of Bluegrass. "For some reason, we just have great fiddlers."
Portz noted 18 past contestants have gone on to either play at the Grand Ole Opry or in Branson.
The most famous is Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss, who won the O'Fallon contest in 1983 at age 12. She came in third in 1984 and second in 1985.
"It's like we're a factory (for successful fiddle players)," Portz said.
Saturday night's activities also will include bluegrass, classic country, Cajun and even Irish tunes by Portz's band with 17-year-old Marissa Harmes.
Harmonica champion Matt McElroy and country singer Brenda Cook also will perform.
"We are debuting our brand-new CD," Portz said. "We haven't had one in eight years, and we're kind of excited about it."
Throughout the evening, fiddlers, guitarists and other musicians can jam in the basement. The contest has no entry fee, but everyone must pay admission.
At a glance
What: 34th Annual O'Fallon Fiddle Contest and Bluegrass Show
When: 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday
Where: O'Fallon Knights of Columbus Hall on U.S. 50, across from the city park
Admission: $7 adults, $3.50 children
Refreshments: Available for purchase