Volunteer Spotlight: Don & Betty Perry

Among our excellent volunteers are Don and Betty Perry who have been volunteering for Folkmoot since 1990. They first became interested in volunteering at Folkmoot after hearing Betty’s son, David Thomason, tell about his experiences as a Folkmoot Guide while he was a student at Western Carolina University from 1985-1991.During this time, Betty was working at Waynesville Junior High which also happened to be the place where the festival was being hosted. She helped out in any way she could and decided she wanted to become more involved.

The couple started volunteering in souvenir sales and then began ushering for the next twenty-five years at various Folkmoot events. Shortly after that Chuck Dickson asked them to help with ushering and they have been Head Ushers for Folkmoot for the past twenty-five years.  Don and Betty also volunteered at the HART Theatre in Waynesville as usher coordinators up until this year.

Don and Betty have many fond memories during their many years being a part of the Folkmoot community. The Candlelight Closing is their all time favorite event and of the international groups they have watched perform, the groups from New Zealand and France were the ones they enjoyed the most. Betty Perry became friends with a group from Russia that had performed at Folkmoot in 1988 and took a trip with Tuscola students to visit them the next year.

Don believes Folkmoot is important in the lives of young adults within the community because “It teaches them about embracing different cultures and to put aside political differences and form friendships on a global level.”

The couple met at Waynesville Junior High when Don was the school psychologist and Betty was working in the office.  They were married in 1996. Together they have made a huge impact on our community and Folkmoot is glad to have these two great volunteers.


Go to www.folkmoot.org and get your tickets to experience the wonder of international culture through music and dance!


Say Hello To Our 2017 Performers


Folkmoot has eight international groups coming to the festival this year, and even though many of the performers can speak English, it is not the primary language for most of them. Our mission is to build lasting friendships on a global level and that begins with interaction! Take a look at common greetings used in the languages of our performers and don’t be afraid to say hello.



Group: Sentimiento Criollo

Hola (oh-la)

The official language of Argentina is Spanish. However Argentinian Spanish is different from Spanish spoken in Spain or Latin America. Spanish spoken in Argentina sounds similar to Italian. One distinct difference in Argentina Spanish is the use of vos instead of tu (the familiar Spanish form of you). Greetings between strangers or business associates consist of a handshake and greetings between friends is accompanied with a kiss on the right cheek.


Hola can be translated to “hello” in English.

Encantado (when directed at a male) and Encatanda (when directed at a female) can be translated to “delighted to meet you” or “charmed.”



Group: Utkarsh

नमस्ते Namaste (Nam-e-sta)

India has two official languages including Hindi as well as English. The Hindi language is spoken by nearly 45 percent of Indians. During the British Raj, English was used at the federal level, but in 1950, the Indian constitution envisioned that Hindi would gradually replace English, thus making Hindi the sole language of India.  This ideal was met with some resistance in certain parts of the country. Greetings can be accompanied with a handshake, however, greetings by placing both hands together with a slight bow are much appreciated and show respect for Indian customs. In Indian culture, men do not touch women in formal greetings.


नमस्ते Namaste (Nam-e-sta) can be translated to “hello” in English.



Group: Ayalot Hanegev

שָׁלוֹם (Shalom)

The people of Israel are linguistically and culturally diverse. Hebrew and Arabic are the two official languages in Israel and English is the second language and spoken by the majority of the population. The version of Hebrew that the Israeli population speaks is a modern language that is based on different dialects of ancient Hebrew and influenced by other languages such as English, Slavic, Arabic, and German. When greeting someone for the first time, a handshake is appropriate for both social and business settings.


שָׁלוֹם (Shalom) can be used as a greeting or goodbye and can be translated to “hello” or “peace be with you” in English.




Group: Dance Group Paloina Amsterdam

Hallo (Hall-Oh)

Most people from the Netherlands speak Dutch, which is the official language of the country. The Dutch language is a West Germanic language that originated from Old Frankish dialects. Learning other languages is popular and around 90% of the population is able to either converse in English, German, French, or Spanish. It is cultural etiquette to shake hands with everyone present at a business or social meeting.


Hallo can be translated to “hello” in English.



Group: Ogon’ki

Здравствуйте (Zdra-stvooi-te)


Russian is an East Slavic language and an official language in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and many other territories. The Russian alphabet uses letters from the Cyrillic script and consists of 33 letters. Russians greet acquaintances with kisses on both cheeks, but when meeting someone for the first time, it is custom to shake hands accompanied with a simple nod.


Здравствуйте (Zdra-stvooi-te) can be translated to “hello” or “I hope you are well/healthy.”



Group: Koleda

Zdravo (ZDRAHvoh)


Slovenia is a linguistically diverse country due to its centralized location. The majority of the population speaks Slovenian, which is the official language, but Hungarian and Italian are also very well recognized and considered co-official languages. Immigration from former Yugoslavia makes Croatian and Serbian significant languages as well. Greetings in Slovenia are typically formal and initial greetings are combined with a handshake and a friendly smile. First names are only used by friends and family, others are addressed as titles such as “Gospodenia” (Miss), “Gospa” (Madam), or “Gospod” (Sir).


Zdravo can be translated to “hello” in English.



Group: Performing Art Department of Yung-ping Vocational High School

你好 (Nǐ hǎo)

The official language of Taiwan is Standard Mandarin Chinese as of 1945, following WWII. Before this time, Japanese was the official language of Taiwan. Taiwanese Mandarin is spoken at different levels according to the social class and situation of the speakers. Formal occasions call for the acrolectal level of Standard Chinese (Guoyu), which differs little from the Standard Chinese of the People’s Republic of China. Less formal situations may result in the basilect form, which has more uniquely Taiwanese features. Bilingual Taiwanese speakers may code-switch between Mandarin and Taiwanese, sometimes in the same sentence.


你好 (Nǐ hǎo) can be translated to “hello” in English.



Group: Thunder Bear Drum Group and the Dancers That Shift

ᏏᏲ Siyo (She-yo)

In 1821, a Cherokee scholar named Sequoyah invented a written Cherokee language. In 1828, just 7 years later, a Cherokee language newspaper began publishing, the Cherokee Phoenix, which was also the first published Native American newspaper. The Cherokee syllabary has 85 (originally 86) characters.

ᏏᏲ Siyo (See-yo) can be translated to “hello” in English.



Go to www.folkmoot.org and get your tickets to experience the wonder of international culture through music and dance!


Folkmoot is Going To Centre Stage in Greenville, SC!

This year Folkmoot has partnered with Upstate International to have its first ever performance in Greenville, South Carolina. On Wednesday, July 26th at 7:00 p.m., four of the talented international groups will entertain guests at the Centre Stage Performing Arts Theater, 501 River Street. This theater has a unique, thrust stage, with only seven rows in each section, so that audience members can experience the show in a new and intimate way. Prices range from $16.50-$32.50 depending on seat selection.

Centre Stage was founded in 1983 by Douglas P. McCoy with the intent of creating a professional theater. The theater held performances in local museums, churches, and fine arts centers until settling into a permanent location in 1996 at 501 River Street in downtown Greenville. This lovely theater seats 285 and is surrounded by the historic Falls Park and many shops and restaurants.

Folkmoot is appreciative of all the assistance Upstate International has given to help prepare for this event and excited to be partnered alongside this organization that also has a passion for creating global friendships. Upstate International is a non-profit organization located in Greenville, SC that thrives on connecting those in the Upstate to dynamic exchange of international cultures and ideas through programs and events. Their goal is to provide opportunities for local residents to engage in cultural programs such as language classes, conversation opportunities, relocation services, and social clubs. Through the World Affairs Council, they have added educational forums and global business connections.

“Upstate International is thrilled to partner with Folkmoot to bring this annual North Carolina festival to Greenville’s Center Stage for the first time.  Upstate International and the Folkmoot Festival are aligned in their shared missions to build global relationships and foster cultural understanding.  Music and dance are indeed universal languages that connect us across the cultural barriers that often isolate us from one another,” said Caren Senter program manager for Upstate International.   

For tickets, go to www.folkmoot.org and experience first-hand, the wonder of international music and dance.

Bonding With Beads

For the 2016 Folkmoot Festival, Lisa Wilnoty, Folkmoot Cherokee Coordinator, designed hand-beaded lanyards for staff and guides. Lisa wanted to create something for the guides and staff and thought these lanyards would be a great gift to symbolize the friendships and unity that Folkmoot brings. The beaded lanyards were such a hit within the Folkmoot community that we have asked her to make more for the 2017 Festival!

Lisa began beading about three years ago when she decided to pursue her passion for traditional crafts. Her husband, Freddy Wilnoty II, showed her the basics and from there she began creating her own designs. When designing these beautifully beaded lanyards, Lisa incorporates an array of colors, especially watercolors to be used as a representation for how water gives and sustains life. This year she chose green and white for growth & peace. 

Many of the guides and staff look at these hand-beaded lanyards as a symbol for Folkmoot 2016 and all the wonderful memories from the festival. They all recognize the hard work that Lisa put into making these special gifts, and were humbled and honored to receive them. Some of the individuals who were given these lanyards still use them to hold keys or badges in everyday life as a reminder of the friendships they made during the 2016 Festival.  

Assistant Guide, Gracie Feichter said, “The lanyard represents a sense of unity. All of the colors blend beautifully together, much like we do in our own world. Even though the pattern of beading on each lanyard is different, it symbolizes how we are able to create something beautiful if we work together.”

Guide Thomas Greenarch said, “When I received the lanyard last year at Folkmoot and learned it was hand-made by a Cherokee woman named Lisa, I felt honored as I am also Cherokee. Cherokee people make such amazing art such as pottery, clothes, and bead work that all take patience and skill. Therefore I know, she worked hard on these for all the guides and assistant guides and represented all that Folkmoot represents. I still use my lanyard as a necklace at times and every time I see it, I remember the wonderful experience and fun times we all had at the festival last year.”

Go to www.folkmoot.org and get your tickets to experience the wonder of international culture through music and dance!

Sunday Soiree Will Feature Tuscola Band Students

The Sunday Soiree is a brand new Folkmoot Festival event sponsored by the Smoky Mountain News and scheduled for Sunday, July 23rd at 7:00 p.m. This event will be held in the green space adjacent to the Folkmoot Friendship Center, 112 Virginia Ave, and attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students, and free for everyone under the age of 5. The evening will feature American Grammy-award winning, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo (http://secretagent23skidoo.com/) and Empire Strikes Brass (http://empirestrikesbrass.com). These bands offer a wide spectrum of musical genres, are multi-instrumental and musically sophisticated.

Tuscola High School band students, directed by Tim Wise, Dillon Ingle, and Adam Stewart, will be joining 23 Skidoo and Empire Strikes Brass during this evening of music. The Soiree will open with a Jazz Band of about fifteen students and Drumline consisting of 3 Snares, 2 Tenors, and 5 Basses. The Jazz Band will start the evening with a mixture of 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and modern Jazz. The Drumline is scheduled to play a set with Empire Strikes Brass.

“These students are hardworking, top-notch individuals who practice diligently, meeting during their time off from school for rehearsals, as they prepare to give the audience a great show,” said Dillon Ingle, Associate Director of Bands at Tuscola.

A portion of proceeds from this event will benefit Haywood County School band students who wish to attend Western Carolina University and play in the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band.

Attendees can also grab a bite to eat from one or both of the delicious food vendors that will be joining us for the Sunday Soiree. Appalachian Smoke serves pulled pork, smoked chicken, ribs, and more. (http://www.appalachiansmoke.com/food-trailer.html). Fat Belly’s offers burgers, specialty sandwiches, and shrimp and chicken dinners. (http://www.fatbellys.net/7212.html).

Visit Folkmoot.org to purchase tickets!

Folkmoot Festival 2017:  Many Cultures Day

This outdoor, family-friendly event takes place on Saturday, July 22nd from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the green space adjacent to the Folkmoot Friendship Center, 112 Virginia Ave, Waynesville, NC. Scheduled immediately after the Waynesville parade, Many Cultures Day features youth activities hosted by community groups, international dance and music performances, community dance lessons, face-painting, airbrush tattoos, and a youth performance stage with local youth fiddlers and dancers.  Additionally, we have two Cherokee stickball game demonstrations. The cost of this outdoor festival is $5 for individuals over 5 years.

Along with everything else, Many Cultures Day hosts 30 vendors. Artisan vendors share cultural beadwork, handcrafted jewelry, pottery, furniture, handbags, Lularoe clothing, sewing, woodwork, and lots more. We are expecting food vendors serving baked goods, ice-cream, kettle corn, snow cones, Caribbean style cuisine, specialty wraps, and other delicious treats.

Make sure you come to the Friendship Center immediately after the Waynesville Parade. The parade is Saturday, July 22nd at 10 a.m., starting at the First Baptist Church and continues on until the Courthouse where the dancers do a demonstration for elected officials. The parade features not only Folkmoot’s international groups, but also local musicians, dance teams, giant puppeteers, and stilt walkers.

Folkmoot USA, North Carolina’s International Festival, is a two-week celebration of the world’s cultural heritage through folk music and dance. Held each summer throughout the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, Folkmoot features performers sharing their culture through colorful, authentic, and original reproduction costumes, lively dance, and traditional music.In 2017, Folkmoot anticipates hosting musicians and dancers from India, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Argentina, Russia, Israel, Taiwan, a Canadian group representing Welsh dance, a U.S. group representing African dance, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians performers, as well as several regional bluegrass and clogging groups representing Appalachian culture.

The excitement continues on with cultural performances, parades, exhibitions, and more through Sunday, July 30th. There are festival events in Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, Clyde, Hickory, Cherokee, Canton, Flat Rock, Maggie Valley, Greenville, Franklin, and Asheville. For more information call 828.452.2997 or email info@folkmoot.org.

Go to www.folkmoot.org and get your tickets to experience the wonder of international culture through music and dance!



Meet Glenn Arnette, Folkmoot Emcee & Board Member

Though Glenn Arnette is new to Folkmoot, he is already making a large impact on the organization. After first attending the festival three years ago and being fascinated by the performance, he wanted to become more involved. In 2016, he became an emcee and hosted ten shows, including the Gala and the Candlelight Closing. Last year he was also asked to become a member of the board.

Glenn enjoys all the events but his favorites are the Gala because this show creates festival excitement and the Candlelight Closing, which is special simply because of the extravaganza of the evening. He thinks that people should “rediscover Folkmoot because it is an event that changes every year.” Glenn can’t get over the excitement and depth of talent that the festival brings to Western North Carolina.

Board President Bill Cole said, “Glenn has been a fantastic addition to our Folkmoot family.  He became a board member about five months ago and hit the ground running with his participation on our Programs and Events Committee.  A big bonus with having Glenn around has been his background in entertainment.  With his talent and experience as an experienced emcee, Glenn has added a touch of professionalism to all of our major events.”


Go to www.folkmoot.org and get your tickets to experience the wonder of international culture through music and dance!

Volunteer Spotlight: Vivian Poppas

It takes a community to keep Folkmoot alive and have a successful festival each year. There are many tremendous volunteers that Folkmoot is grateful for but there is one volunteer that has been assisting the organization for years and always exceeds expectations. This exceptional volunteer is Vivian Poppas and she has been making a huge impact on Folkmoot since 1989.

“Vivian has dedicated her life to Folkmoot for 28 years. Her passion and commitment to this festival has helped in so many ways; from guiding our performers thru many years of the festival to helping prepare the rooms year after year. Folkmoot could not function without Vivian!” said Catherine MacCallum, Operations and Volunteer Coordinator.

During her first year with the festival Vivian started as a bus driver, but it did not take long for her to want to become more involved and to help in any way she could. Her second year with Folkmoot she was cleaning up rooms and making beds to prepare for the performers. She has also helped setting up and tearing down for events. This year Vivian is working alongside Operations and Volunteer Coordinator, Catherine McCallum, to make sure the festival runs smoothly.

After working with the festival for such a long time she has many fond memories but her favorite was communicating with a member from one of the groups from China. She cannot speak Chinese and he could not speak English so in order to communicate they drew pictures. Through drawings, they had conversations about their children, pets, and more.

“Something I like to tell people is that I get to travel the world every year and never leave home,” said Vivian.

Go to www.folkmoot.org and get your tickets to experience the wonder of international culture through music and dance!

Folkmoot 2017: Ogon’ki Ensemble from Russia!

The Ogon’ki Ensemble will be representing Russia in this year’s festival. The group is bringing to the festival about 40 members consisting of musicians, dancers, costume designers, and choreographers from a wide variety of ages.


Russian folk dance has always been a very important part of Russian culture. Much of Russian folk music and dance appeared around the 10th century due to the Slavic tribes immigrating to Russia. Most dancers were from the lower class and the upper class would typically just watch the performers and rarely participated in the dances themselves.


Costumes were based on specific events and holidays. Women had specific holiday headdresses, embroidered shirts, and ornamental aprons. Men wore shirts, a belt, narrow pants, and high boots. Red is a color used in many of the traditional costumes because red is associated with beauty in Russian tradition. Traditional instruments are the mandolin, seven-string acoustic guitar, accordion, panpipes, tambourine, and Jew’s harp.

Go to www.folkmoot.org and get your tickets to experience the wonder of international culture through music and dance!

Folkmoot 2017: Ayalot Hanegev of Israel!


The Israel Representative Dance Ensemble “Ayalot Hanegev “comes to Folkmoot from the city of Be’er-Sheva. The group was founded in 1980 under the artistic direction of choreographer Moti Alkiss. Ayalot Hanegev performed at Folkmoot in 1996 and Folkmoot is excited to have the talented troupe returning to Haywood County once again.


The Israel Dance Ensemble has represented Israel in 77 countries all over the world during their 38 years of existence. They have appeared on national TV channels in Israel and international networks. The group comes highly recommended from the various events they have performed at and when the group came to Folkmoot in 1996, Mayor Henry B. Poy said, “These group members are artists in every sense. A lot of people have now put Israel at the top priority of their travel list after experiencing the wonder of these talented performers. We would love to have this group visit us again.”


Unlike many other forms of folk dance, Israeli folk dance is only about 60 years old. Israeli folk dancing is typically performed to songs in Hebrew and includes circle, partner, line, and individuals dances. Along with the talented dancers, Ayalot Hanegev is bringing two singers and several musicians who play the keyboard, accordion, drums, and trumpet.

Go to www.folkmoot.org and get your tickets to experience the wonder of international culture through music and dance!

Free Guidebook: First Three Ticket Orders!

free guidebook: first three ticket orders!

TODAY – Wednesday July 8th – free guidebook: first three ticket orders! The first three people to purchase tickets – today – will receive a free guidebook with the order. So don’t wait or you might be too late! You can call our ticket office at 828-452-2997, or walk in and see us at 112 Virginia … Read more

Folkmoot ticket special: get a free guidebook

For a limited time – today through July 3 – we’re offering a Folkmoot ticket special: get a free guidebook with the purchase of four or more adult tickets. Anyone who purchases four or more adult tickets will also receive a FREE copy of the Official Folkmoot 2015 Guidebook. You must be available to pick … Read more