If you have ever seen a photo posted on Folkmoot’s Facebook or Instagram page, it is likely that it was taken by December’s Spotlight volunteer, Patrick Parton. A Waynesville native and graduate of Tuscola High School, Patrick has been with his current place of employment for the past 31 years, a noted example of his hard work and dedication.
After volunteering with Folkmoot in the early 1990’s with his family and attending various Folkmoot shows and events, Patrick decided to get serious about work as a Folkmoot photographer. At that time, digital cameras were newly available as a consumer product and Patrick was excited to apply digital settings and filtering to his hobby. Not only did he regularly photograph his family, but he began bringing his digital camera to Folkmoot events. He was so pleased with how many of the photos turned out that he showed them to former Folkmoot Board President, Linda Manes. She enjoyed them so much that she asked Patrick to come to all of the events and take pictures. Not only did he say, “yes,” but he took all of the pictures as a volunteer. Even today, Patrick continues to take pictures for Folkmoot at absolutely no cost as a contribution to the community.
Out of all the groups in all the festivals, Patrick appreciates the Serbian performers most. Over the last decade, he has grown close to the group. A few of the performers come back with other European groups from time to time and make a point of reaching out to him. It all began when he met a gentleman from Serbia in 2010 who was also very interested in digital cameras. This connection eventually led to them becoming good friends.
Patrick’s favourite part of the festival is the Gala because it’s the first time that all of the groups meet. He enjoys this because he really appreciates all of the different cultures and people he is able to meet, right here at home in western North Carolina. He likes that the festival essentially brings all of the countries to him since hasn’t had the opportunity to travel abroad. Yet!
Volunteering with Folkmoot has enabled Patrick to make friends across the globe, enjoy cultural diversity, see firsthand that we are all much more alike than different, and share with the Folkmoot community his beautiful photos!