Folkmoot runs on volunteers!

Folkmoot runs on volunteers!

That is true of any non-profit organization, of course, but volunteers are essential, indispensable, crucial, critical, cannot-exist-without when the non-profit organizations produces an annual 10-day international folk dance festival as well as year-round programs and events.

Oh yes, Folkmoot runs on volunteers!

The good news is Folkmoot is blessed with some of our glorious mountain region’s best volunteers and they were feted and appreciated earlier this week with our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner.

Virginia Wall was named, “Volunteer of the Year,” for her undying loyalty and her contribution to the Folkmoot Festival of well over 100 hours.

Folkmoot runs on volunteers!
Volunteer of the Year,Virginia Wall (right) accepts her award from Volunteer Coordinator Catherine McCollum

Vivian Poppas, another volunteer who contributes well over 100 hours every year was also honored for all her hard works.

During the festival itself an invaluable and integral corps of volunteers are our Folkmoot Guides, high school and college students who serve our visiting international dance troupes as chief assistants, tour managers, house mom & dads and many other functions. It’s an extraordinary opportunities for our region’s young people and often grow deep bonds of friendship which last a lifetimes.

Tuscola High School student Andrea Castillo was named, “Folkmoot Guide of the Year,” and was given a nice gift package from Mast General Store, including a new backpack!

Many of our outstanding volunteers were given gift packages from Mast General Store and we very much appreciate its generosity.

Other outstanding volunteers singled out for significant contributions during the 2018 festival included long-time Folkmoot leader and inspiration, Rolf Kaufman, the entire Yazan family led by mom and dad, Christie and Murat, Michelle Romberger, Sandra Hermida, Alex Still, Jamie Gardner, Anne Melton, Barbara McNary, Jo Wooten and, most especially, Bill and Jane Cole. Bill is Folkmoot board president and Jane volunteers countless hours to Folkmoot as well.

It’s the best seat in the house when you get inside Folkmoot as a volunteer or guide!

We’re always applications now for Folkmoot volunteers and guides and if you’ve ever wanted to see the inner-Folkmoot: behind the scenes, backstage, traveling with the dance troupes, intense cultural education – this is the way!

To apply as a volunteer or a guide (small stipends are paid to guides), submit an application, which you can find here.

Volunteers all year long!

Many Folkmoot volunteers have come and gone over the years, each one valuable and each one treasured. The key volunteers – and volunteer leaders – who work all year long include:

Mayo Ferguson is one of Folkmoot’s longest standing volunteers.  He first began working with us in 1986, took a small break somewhere along the way to get a family going, came back and picked up where he left off.  Of all the things he enjoys about working with Folkmoot he most enjoys the interactions and conversations he can have with people from around the world.  The music, dance, art, and performances are enjoyable but it is what he can learn from someone with a different perspective that he values the most.



Vivian Poppas is another one of Folkmoot’s longest standing volunteers.  She has been actively working with us for over 29 years and her duties and positions have included a little bit of everything but her favorite position so far has been working as a Guide during the festival.  She also thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to make friends with people from all corners of the globe and to learn about their different cultures.



Natalie Ballard is studying Business Administration and Law at Western Carolina University with a minor in Political Science. She was captain of the color guard in high school and assistant choir director for the children’s choir at the church she attends. Natalie loves learning about different cultures and getting to experience new ideas. She hopes to one day live in another country.




Michelle Romberger is a another veteran volunteer for Folkmoot. She has volunteered countless hours cooking for friendship dinners, creating the menu for the upcoming festival and providing upkeep to the kitchen. Since her first connection with Folkmoot, Michelle fell in love with the mission of the organization. She calls it an opportunity of a lifetime.




Our Volunteer Spotlight shines on David BortleFolkmoot means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To David Bortle, Folkmoot is a non-profit that establishes a platform for community building. He appreciates how the Folkmoot festival encourages diverse groups to put their differences aside for the universal love of dance and music. “(Folkmoot is) different people coming together to transcend the American existence,” he said. In the two years of working at Folkmoot, David undoubtedly enjoyed most working with last year’s Israeli performance group. He describes the Israeli group as incredible, hard-working, and cultured.


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Folkmoot runs on volunteers!