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Summer Photo Feature: Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart...(by Matthew) - L.A. is a big city, there's no getting around that. A metropolis of valet parking and palm trees. There's fine dining and day spas and gourmet cheese stores. But don't assume it's no place for the good ol fashioned hillbilly! In fact, apart from the beach L.A. is surrounded by hills. And no better place to break out a fiddle and banjo than Paramount Ranch with the ol' west movie sets seen in such films as: Paleface (1948), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938) and a host of television shows since it was rebuilt in 1984 such as: CHiPS, Dukes of Hazzard, Charlie's Angels and more recently Dr. Quinn, Medecine Woman and Carnivale.

Here's a few pics from our 5th annual trip to the 49th annual Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest at this fantastic and historic location. The "Contest" is really a festival, with impressive performances in addition to the contestants. There's a barndance where anyone can learn square and Irish dancing and like any good bluegrass festival there are plenty of spontaneous jam sessions popping up along the main trail. You can bring a blanket and cooler (responsible alcohol consumption permitted) or you can hit up the vendors or brave the BBQ line. The bottom line is this festival is always fun. Every year I mark off the dates on my calendar and spread the word. Angelenos can do themselves a favor by heading for the hills and hopping to a jig. You won't miss the concrete.

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