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Brief History of The National Button Accordion Festival

The National Button Accordion Festival began in 2007. It is the successor to the Fontana Button Box Jamboree that was held in Fontana, California, for 26 years and was discontinued in 2004. The original Jamboree was sponsored and developed by the Fontana Slovene Button Accordion Club, of Fontana, CA.

The re-birth of the Jamboree began with the help and support of the Fontana Slovene Button Accordion Club. The new event was first held at Yukon Czech Hall, Yukon, Oklahoma, over Memorial Day Weekend, 2007. The National Accordion Association of Dallas, Texas, and the Yukon Czech Hall were joint sponsors.

In 2008 the National Button Accordion Festival was re-located to Bessemer, Pennsylvania. The new sponsors are the Bessemer Croatian Club and Otter Creek Enterprises. Maintaining the long established tradition of the Jamboree, the Festival is held annually over Memorial Day Weekend.

Much of the original format of the Fontana Jamboree remains intact. The Festival follows the traditional three-day, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday schedule, always on Memorial Day Weekend. A jamming format is used including a posted time schedule board for performers or groups on the main stage.

A formal program and concert begins Sunday, the last day of the Festival. Following the concert, the jamming format resumes for the remainder of the day. The most unique characteristic of the Festival is that no bands are hired. The music comes from the people attending the event. In 2008, players, music fans, and dancers attended the Festival coming from 17 different States across the country. Each year attendance increases and in 2011 so many groups attended or formed at the festival that we had to keep groups to the exact time limit!! Maybe we will have a second stage in 2013?