The Folkmoot volunteer spotlight falls on George Thomas

The Folkmoot volunteer spotlight falls on George Thomas

The Folkmoot volunteer spotlight falls on George Thomas.

If you have noticed our refreshing gardened shrubs and flower beds you can thank George!

After 21 years of teaching Horticulture at Haywood Community College, George retired and now spends his time volunteering at Folkmoot – while also enjoying his hobbies of gardening, stamp collecting, and traveling.

While teaching horticulture at Haywood Community College, George’s class volunteered at the Folkmoot Friendship Center. During the recently ended academic year his class de-weeded, planted and mulched 467 feet along the front perimeter of the Center.

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. 

Ticket packages and tickets for individual performances are available here.

The Folkmoot volunteer spotlight falls on George Thomas
George Thomas, Folkmoot Volunteer Spotlight

George first heard about Folkmoot and our gardening needs from one of his close friends, Dr. Barbara Parker, who suggested that George volunteer with his wide range of gardening and landscaping skills.

Being active members in the Haywood community, George and his family have been attending Folkmoot events for many years. As a volunteer, George values how Folkmoot brings the community together.

“Three important aspects that Folkmoot produces are goodwill, fellowship and public relations”, George said.

He added how he greatly appreciates the opportunity to volunteer with an organization which hosts groups from other nations.

He says the Grand Opening at Lake Junaluska and the Parade of Nations are his two favorite events during the festival. He describes these events as colorful. George also loves the sense of international pageantry these two events bring to the community.

We want to thank George for all that he does for Folkmoot. He is a highly valued volunteer, has a positive attitude and represents Folkmoot’s values.

We are thankful for everything he has offered through his time volunteering. George encourages the community to check-out Folkmoot’s year-round programs.

For more information or to volunteer, please contact Catherine MacCallum, Operations and Volunteer Coordinator: 828-452-2997, x105. Or fill out this online form.

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.

The Folkmoot Volunteer Spotlight for May

The Folkmoot Volunteer Spotlight for May

The Folkmoot Volunteer Spotlight for May falls on a cherished member of the Folkmoot family, Brenda Davidson.

Brenda has been on the stage management team for many years and is the proud mother of lead guide, Heather Davidson, who worked with Russia at the 2017 festival.

In over 16 years of service, Brenda has become familiar with all aspects of Folkmoot. She has worked side-by-side with performers through stage management as well as helped with marketing.

Folkmoot 2018 opens July 19 and runs through July 29 and will feature performing dance troupes from Ghana, Italy, Czech Republic, Venezuela and Northern Cyprus in addition to our troupe from 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. And see a special YouTube performance of the Lampang Kalaynee troupe below!

Ticket packages and tickets for individual performances are available here.

The Folkmoot Volunteer Spotlight for May
Brenda Davidson

Like others, Brenda became a Folkmoot volunteer through a friend. 

“Sixteen years ago, I spoke with one of my co-workers, Patsy Rogers at Hometrust Bank who, at the time, was a board member for Folkmoot,” she said. “Talking with Patsy, I fell in love with the idea of this amazing international organization in Waynesville and decided to start volunteering.”

The Lake Junaluska closing, candlelight performance has become Brenda’s favorite event during the festival. 

“All the performers come together at the end of the festival to perform one last time for one another and just have fun,” she said. “Being the last performance of the festival, everyone gives it their all and the event feels magical.”

Brenda loves volunteering at Folkmoot for many reasons: new friendships, becoming culturally immersed and the process of presenting the festival is fun, she said.

Through the years she remembers most fondly working with daughter Heather’s groups, especially a dance troupe from Tinidad. 

“Not only were the performers great, their show was full of exciting music and dancing,” she recalled. 

Brenda encourages more people to join the team at Folkmoot to gain perspective on other cultures.

For more information on volunteering opportunities, contact Catherine MacCallum, Operations and Volunteer Coordinator, 828-452-2997, x105, or fill out this online form

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.

Volunteer Spotlight for April focuses on Gracie Feichter

Volunteer Spotlight for April focuses on Gracie Feichter

Our Volunteer Spotlight for April focuses on Gracie Feichter – one of Folkmoot’s star guides! 

Gracie is a junior at Tuscola High School in Waynesville. She has been a guide at Folkmoot for the past two years while also being involved in other organizations at school and in the community, including the Tuscola choir and dancing at Music Works.

Gracie’s journey with Folkmoot began when her dad, Jon Feichter, crossed paths with the Folkmoot Executive Director Angie Schwab. Dad encouraged Gracie to apply and interview for the position of star guide and has been a committed volunteer from day one!

Volunteer Spotlight for March focuses on Gracie Feichter“As the executive director, you want a guide volunteer to be as devoted to the organization as the staff is,” Schwab explained. “As a nonprofit, Folkmoot relies on the volunteers to help make ends meet and volunteers like Gracie invest so much time and energy to Folkmoot to better the organization. She deserves a lot of thanks for all of the hard work she puts into Folkmoot every year.”

Folkmoot 2018 is set for July 19-29 at performance venues in Haywood County, North Carolina and across the Western Carolina region. Tickets for some performances are already available online. Others will be added soon.

Stop by Folkmoot International Center during the festival, you will notice Gracie working with her fellow volunteer guides and her assigned international group. Volunteering with Folkmoot has given Gracie the opportunity to experience a festival which shares cultures around the world, something she loves.

Gracies says her event is the closing ceremony.

“With the festival ending, the closing ceremony allows all of the dancers, volunteers, and Folkmoot employees to mix with one another as a symbol of unity and light candles,” she said. 

Last year Gracie had the opportunity to be a guide for India.

“The kindness of the performers from India gave me so much joy for what I do,” she said.

Gracie also enjoyed the cultural aspect that the performers from India bring to Folkmoot. Two of her favorite cultural aspects brought by India was the food cooked every night and the bright, beautiful clothing the performers from India wore during performances.

There are so many ways to get involved as a volunteer with the Folkmoot Festival. Star guides get to experience the festival from the inside. 

“Folkmoot is an extraordinary opportunity that allows our differences to bring us together” Gracie said.

Folkmoot gives opportunities to many people for different reasons.

“The entire staff at Folkmoot appreciates all of the hard work and dedication Gracie sets forth every year,” Schwab said. “She makes every year memorable for not only her community but also for the performers from around the world.”

For more information about volunteer opportunities, contact Catherine MacCallum, Operations and Volunteer Coordinator: 828-452-2997, x105. Or fill out this online form.

Folkmoot Volunteers of the Year

Folkmoot Volunteers of the Year

Of all the many Folkmoot volunteers a few stand out each year for contributing over and above the call of duty and we try to recognize them each year as the Outstanding Folkmoot Volunteers of the Year. And 2015 was no exception to that rule, particularly given the changing faces and changing and expanding mission … Read more