Folkmoot’s Parade of Nations: July 21 on Main Street in Waynesville!
One of Folkmoot’s most cherished traditions, the annual Parade of Nations, is always free to the public and among the most fun-filled, colorful and family-friendly events of the entire 10-day Folkmoot Festival.
And it happens in the middle of downtown Waynesville – right down Main Street. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. The parade is just part of the big opening weekend of Folkmoot!
Folkmoot 2018 opens July 19 and runs through July 29 and will feature performing dance troupes from Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico, Thailland and Northern Cyprus and Venezuela as well as Anglo Appalachian and, as always, Cherokee dancers and musicians.
As they have for 35 years now. each participating dance troupe – our international visitors as well as our regional troupes – march down Waynesville’s Main Street, stopping at intervals to showcase dance moves and traditional clothing to spectators along the sidewalk before ending with a grand performance on the steps of Haywood County’s Historic Courthouse.
The parade is one of the best chances for festival goers to see each group before most of the ticketed performances. The Parade of Nations is great activity for the whole family as people of all ages are sure to see world cultures presented in ways that will certainly entertain and inform.
Stick around after the parade to join us for the Many Cultures Day street fair at Folkmoot Center (the historic Hazelwood School)!
Many Cultures Day is a good opportunity to meet and interact with some of the performers. They will be participating in all kinds of activities with festival goers: crafts, dance lessons and games.
The event will feature live music, 30 different vendors and various ethnic food trucks. There is a $5 entrance fee, but children 5 and under get in free.
All these events and more are part of the opening and closing weekends of the 10 days of Folkmoot 2018.
When Waynesville surgeon, Dr. Clinton Border, returned home after seeing a dance team at an English folk festival, he thought such a festival would be perfect for Western North Carolina, which had its own rich history of preserving its traditional culture. It took from 1973, when Border made his trip, to 1984 before the first Folkmoot USA event took place. That year, symbolic as it was also the year that North Carolina celebrated its 400th birthday, welcomed performers from England, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Turkey, Mexico, Puerto Rico and India.
In 2002, the Folkmoot Friendship Center leased the former Hazelwood Elementary School, thus giving it a home to expand its programming and activities. In 2014, the Haywood County school system donated the school to the organization. Now, this multi-faceted space has created an expanded opportunity for Folkmoot to move from a two week festival to a year-round cultural center, focusing on programs and events that celebrate diversity and differences, encourage cultural conversation and inclusion, and preserve and honor worldwide cultural heritages, especially using dance as a tool to achieve world peace.
Since these humble yet visionary beginnings in 1984, more than 8,000 international performers from 200 countries have entertained and thrilled residents and guests of Western North Carolina.