Legendary Ozarks Fiddle Maker Celebrates 100th Birthday

Oct 23, 2016

It was a grand gathering at Silver Dollar City’s Gazebo, Friday Oct 21st, when close to 2000 of Violet Hensley’s friends, family and fellow fiddlers, celebrated the legendary fiddle maker’s 100th birthday. 

Silver Dollar City Publicist Lisa Rau, opened the program with a remembrance of her and Violet’s trip to New York City, for Violet’s appearance on Regis and Kathy Lee:  “The night before the show, Violet said, Sure, I’ll go to a rock and roll sushi bar. When that meal arrived, Violet looked up at the waitress and said, Well, that fish looks like it needs to back in the creek!”

SDC co-founder Pete Herschend, had high praise for Violet Hensley, who also on Friday, celebrated her 50th fall festival at the Branson theme park:  “This is an absolutely unusual lady.  She has been a gift to all of us and our guests at SDC for 50 years, 50 years.  Violet Hensley is a great lady.” 

Violet Hensley reacted to Herschend’s words:  “When I leave this world, I don’t need any cut flowers.  My flowers are living flowers, all over the country.”

President of SDC Attractions, Brad Thomas, spoke lovingly about Violet Hensley:  “You talk about us being flowers in your life, well let me tell you, you are the flower in our lives.  And may those fond memories of you, Lady Violet, be precious every single day of our lives, because you are a woman of the hills, and you taught us how to love.  And for that, we love you.”

Before the birthday celebration began, Violet told KSMU producer Mike Smith her secret to long life:  “You don’t drink whisky, beer or wine.  You don’t smoke cigarettes, dip snuff or chew tobacco. If you eat something that upsets your stomach, why don’t eat that anymore, because it’s against your flesh. And don’t cuss your neighbor out.”

Violet Hensley has made 73 fiddles over her lifetime, the last one was whittled in 1996.  If you’d like to sit a spell and visit with Violet in her both at Silver Dollar City, the National Cowboy and Harvest Festival continues there through October 29th.