The First Saturday of Folkmoot 2018 is jam-packed with huge events, free-and-open-to-the-public events and more fun than – maybe, not really – anyone should expect to have in a single day!
First Saturday, as it’s come to be known and this year on July 21st, kicks off with one of the most popular events each year of the entire festival: the Parade of Nations down Main Street, Waynesville. Always colorful and exciting, the whole of Western Carolina (it seems) turns out to see our visiting international dance troupes, local and international musicians, favorite Appalachian and mountain dance troupes all perform and frolic down the main drag of our picturesque mountain town.
Kids, parents, grandparents, adults of all varieties revel in the pageantry and exhilaration of the festive vibe.
Folkmoot 2018 opens July 19 and runs through July 29 and will feature performing dance troupes from Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic, Chile, Venezuela and Northern Cyprus and Thailand as well as Anglo Appalachian and Cherokee dancers and musicians.
You can see them all, featured together and with videos, on our Folkmoot Performers of 2018 page.
Come to our Folkmoot International Center immediately after the Parade of Nations for Many Cultures Day. The event lasts until 4 p.m. and features 30-vendors, youth activities hosted by community groups, ethnic food trucks, international performers, community dance lessons, and a youth performance stage with local youth fiddlers and dancers. There also will be two Cherokee stickball game demonstrations. The cost of this outdoor festival is $5 for individuals over 5 years old. Visit the Many Cultures Day event post on Facebook, tag “going” and share it on your profile or with friends!
A full performance by all visiting dance troupes at Haywood Community College caps off the day at 7 p.m.! One of the most popular performances of the festival each year, the first HCC performance is always a fun-filled event and moderately priced so the whole family can enjoy the show! Visit the Haywood Community College performance event post on Facebook, tag “going” and share it on your profile or with friends!
35 years and going strong!
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.