Local people know how to pronounce it (k’LIE ga) and maybe how to spell it, Kowaliga.

Kowaliga is an Indian name.

It is the name of a famous wooden Indian.

It is the title of a top country classic hit written and sung by Alabama’s Hank Williams Sr. about that wooden Indian.

K’lie ga was a wooden Indian standing by the door.

He fell in love with an Indian maid at the antique store.

It is the name of an area on large Lake Martin. “Let’s go to Kowaliga.”

It is the name of the well-known Kowaliga Restaurant on Lake Martin.

It is the name of a Lake Martin-area radio station, which also co-sponsors the idol competition, 97.5 FM, ‘Kowaliga County.’

Now, it is the namesake for “Central Alabama’s Largest Talent Competition.” 

‘Kowaliga Idol’ is in its sixteenth year. It has helped launch the careers of Tyler Braden, Tristen Gressett, Michele Hughes, and others.  From now through April 6, judges and audiences will hear and watch dozens of musicians in central and east Alabama, and the program could launch one or more of them in their own musical careers.

Early rounds called “Golden Ticket Nights” were held in January and February.  Judges awarded golden tickets to contestants they found worthy to advance.

Now, Round Two semi-finals are upcoming March 8-9 at Martin’s at Lake Martin.

Round Three semi-finals are March 15-16 at Martin’s.

Round Four semi-finals are March 22-23 at Little Bit of Texas in Wetumpka.

The final, “The Main Event,” is on April 6 at Little Bit of Texas.

Details for contestants and attendees are at:  Kowaliga Idol | Kowaliga Country 97.5 (wkga975.com)

Martin’s is located at 10207 County Road 34 in Dadeville, Alabama.  It is in the long-time site of the former Colonel Tom’s Tavern.  Martin's at Lake Martin (martinsatlm.com)

Little of Bit of Texas is at 8056 US 231, Wetumpka. It is styled “A Real Texas Dance Hall.”  Alabama's Little Bit Of Texas (alabamaslittlebitoftexas.com)

Some of the Golden Tickets are already booked in other venues, such as JR’s Sports Bar and Fermenter’s on the Green in Alexander City, Copper’s Grill at Stillwaters, Martin’s in Dadeville, Fermenter’s in Sylacauga, The Funky Goat and Castellucio’s on the Lake.

‘Kowaliga Idol’ can get the voices of local musicians heard by a wider audience. It can launch some onto musical careers. 

And, just maybe, it can teach outsiders how to pronounce and spell Kowaliga.

And then, one day, a wealthy customer bought the Indian maid.

He took her oh so far away, but ole K’liga stayed.

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at ZeiglerElderCare@yahoo.com.

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