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Old 06-03-2012, 11:13 PM
4 posts, read 12,044 times
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My family is considering a move to Weiser from Northern Idaho, and I was hoping for a little information . . . How are the schools? Are there community activities/sports for kids to participate in? Houses to rent? My kids are elementary school aged and are active in parks and rec sports soccer, baseball, and softball.

Any insight would be much appreciated.
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:05 PM
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I think Weiser is just such a small community, maybe that is why you aren't getting any response. The only thing I can offer is that I had a friend who went from Weiser to Post Falls and back to Weiser. Their daughter graduated from high school there, but I don't know how they felt about the school. What I can tell you is that they are now moving to another state because their business has not provided them with one paycheck. They are just closing the doors and walking away. Perhaps I can find out what they are doing with their home. It may be a rental opportunity for you if you are interested.
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:49 AM
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CDArocks -- I would appreciate the information. If you don't mind, what type of business did your friend own in Weiser? Maybe that would be giving away too much information, as it is such a small town . . . I am just curious about the economy and the types of businesses that survive there.

Thanks for the reply!
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Old 06-09-2012, 08:09 PM
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check your direct messages
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:28 PM
Location: Old Mother Idaho
27,865 posts, read 19,377,296 times
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Even though I went to Weiser for a week every year for 30 years- it's the home of the Old Time Fiddler's Championships, and the town doubles in size that week- I don't know very much about it. Normally, it's around 10,000 population.

Can't say a thing about the employment situation, but if you can drive a tractor and work on a spud combine, you could probably find a job. If you can sell farm equipment, you might find a better job. If you are an IT worker, fuggadaboutit.

It's down in the bottom of a hole. The river and the highway are at the bottom, the High School is at the top, and everything in-between is built on a hillside or two in the middle. It's hotter than anywhere else in the Banana Belt of Idaho in the summers because it is the lowest spot. The weather can change in a split second from blazing to a tremendous windstorm followed by heavy rain. The winters are milder than in Boise or the rest of the Treasure Valley.

The folks are nice, and the town is an old farm and former logging community that once was a lot better off than it is now. Folks there are getting by, and I think the place is doing pretty well now, due to the high ag prices over the past few years. There are a lot of Hispanics there, mostly farm workers. Lots of LDS, and lots of fiddle-playing, bluegrass playing, jazz playing road hippies from all over the country once a year for a week. It's been like this since the 1960's.

The high school is large for the town, so it must serve a good hunk of the county as well. It doesn't have any superstores, but it has good services for it's size, and there is a local hospital. The biz is mostly ag connected.

Weiser is one of a string of towns about it's size. Fruitland, Payette, Ontario, Oregon, Nyssa Oregon, and New Plymouth are all close by, and all are pretty much agricultural. This area is one of the highest crop producers in the state; potatoes, corn, hops, mint, onions, and just about everything that can be farmed in this state grows in this area. All the Idaho wineries are also close by, just to the southwest along the Snake River Canyon. (There are several Snake River Canyons.)

Boise is about an 90 minutes away, Caldwell & Nampa are 45 minutes away, so major services are available. I-84 runs through Ontario, and this is the heaviest used highway; once just inside the Ontario city limits, Idaho 16 connects, and takes you back into Idaho and on to Weiser. U.S. 95 ends at Weiser and will take you straight north to New Meadows, Grangeville, Orofino, and on up to Northern Idaho. This is the only north-south route that stays within only Idaho boundaries; all the others go into Montana or Washington for part of the route.

I have to say: On a warm night in june in Weiser, with the crickets all singing along with about 9,000 people accompanying them, and the stars are out, it's about the nicest place on earth to be, especially if you are a banjo player. It is nothing at all like a rock festival, or any other festival. The folks who go there year after year make it up as they go along. There are no big stars who come (unless they are killer good instrumentalists), and the music is some of the finest made in the country during that week. The fiddle contest is just a small part of what happens; much more is made away from the contest, and the music goes on for 24 hours, all 7 days. This is the place were the best players come- few singers, no stages except for the one in the contest, and no competition anywhere but that one stage. Fame counts for nothing there- just good music.

Last edited by banjomike; 06-10-2012 at 07:47 PM..
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:33 PM
Location: Glendora, Ca
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banjomike- you just painted a heckofa picture just using words. I think my wife and I need to visit that festival. Thanks. Chuck
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Old 06-16-2012, 02:24 AM
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Banjomike is an encyclopedia come to life as a storyteller! What a combo--we're so lucky to have him in this forum! I await his posts as if they're installments in an ongoing story, "Memories of Idaho"... Mike, publish! Please!
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Old 06-16-2012, 03:28 PM
Location: Old Mother Idaho
27,865 posts, read 19,377,296 times
Reputation: 21993
Originally Posted by Chuck in Idaho View Post
banjomike- you just painted a heckofa picture just using words. I think my wife and I need to visit that festival. Thanks. Chuck
Better pack up the pickup fast- the fiddle festival is always held on the 3rd full week of June. It starts Tomorrow, June 17th this year!

it is not as large now as it was in the 70's, but it's still quite big enough. Back in the 70's, bluegrass festivals were a blossoming musical counter culture, and many of the festivals that are still going today first began then. The Weiser Fiddle Championships were already over 20 years old by then, and it was never really a bluegrass festival, but it was in the middle, both in location and time, between some big festivals on the West Coast and the East Coast.

Weiser was also bracketed by some other fiddle contests that happened just before and after Weiser week. there were some good festivals/contests in Utah, Colorado, Kansas and eastward, and they continued all through the summer. A contest grade fiddler could make a living traveling from one to another if he/she won enough contests.

The entry fees for the contestants all went to monetary awards (and trophies, of course). Winning the Open Division- the top division- at Weiser paid $5,000, as I recall. The Grand National Fiddle Championship in Nashville pays the same amount. Other festivals paid lesser amounts, but a $1,000 top award was average, and most paid more than that.

Windfield, Kansas holds a Guitar Championship contest, where the winner is awarded a $5,000 prize and a top quality guitar. Banjo is awarded $1500 and a top quality banjo, and the fiddle award is $1500. The trophy instruments that are awarded there are often worth more than the cash.

Fiddle festivals all have multiple categories for competition. The Junior-Junior division is for the little kids around 12 and under, the Junior is for kids 12-18, Men's is for all males, as Women's is for all females of any age. Seniors are both genders at age 50 up, and the Open is restricted to only winners who have either won in another division or are former Open winners. Everyone in the Open division has already won a championship in another division.
All certified contests count, so champions from Texas, Washington, California, Tennessee, and all over the country (and from Europe as well) show up to compete in the Open.

Weiser has produced many known professionals: Mark O'Conner started at Weiser when he was just little, and became the only winner of every division ever. He won the Open about 4 years in a row, forcing several changes to the rules. (Winners can only win twice in a row now.) Many of the best pro bluegrass fiddlers have won, including Byron Berline, who was once a member of the Flying Burrito Bros. and Sundance.

But, as I mentioned, the contest is only about 1/3 of the total musicians who show up. the other 2/3 are there just for the pickin', and the music is not just fiddle oriented. Lots of banjoists come and play old-time and/or bluegrass, guitar and mandolin players come by the score, and form big swing music and Gypsy jazz jams, bluegrass, old-time, and all kinds of music. There are a lot of folks who sing, but the music is really much more instrumental than vocal.

No multiple stages, no pro performer line-ups, and no amplification. Everything is totally acoustic. The music isn't Country, it's not Rock or Country rock, and most folks really have never heard or know nothing about most of it. People come to listen only, but to catch the good stuff that's happening at the moment requires moving around from jam to jam. Listener's requests are mostly ignored in favor of a musician's request, and most tunes aren't even named- someone just starts playing and others join in.

The accomplished players aren't snooty- if a beginner can keep up and do a pretty good job at playing the lead when it comes around, they're in. There are always jams for beginners to very high level of performance, and all are informal. They may last all night long, or may last for only a tune or two before they break up.
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Old 02-02-2019, 10:41 AM
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Default yup

nice . banjo decsribes weiser well.
I am somewhat of an outsider, but we are on our way to Weiser to retire ... down the road a bit.
Since have been going there from our so-cal residence since 2010 we have a real feel for that area.

Weiser is a sleepy town. If you're looking for commerce, and any job that could have a cube around it.. it ain't happinin within 100 miles (like Boise proper)
But .. it your looking to aquire the Idaho concept of.. leave me alone, we can handle it .. this place is it.

Yes.. downtown and the farmland all arouund is low lying. Some flood areas even ... near the weiser river. south of weiser river road.

Go north on hwy 95 and the world starts to change. you wind a bit through some rolling hills for about 20 miles.. through Mann Creek valley ...which is a populate area. You come into Midvale about 30 minutes north of weiser .. and the weather system is different.. winters a bit longer and whatnot. Cambridge is next ... which is really nice if you hunker in for months at a time. More north there's Council. This is where you enter the BLM .. so all the hunters from Nampa to Cambridge will be passing through for deer and elk season. Another town I absolutely love but I know retirement there would be trying.

we are going to base our retirement home out of weiser and go fishing everywhere we can drive to.

When you visit Wesier, take a road trip up 95 and then down around to McCall. It's memorable.
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