On the cusp of celebrating the 35th summer festival, Folkmoot welcomes two new board members.
Pam Meister, director of the Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University, and Kevin Sandefur, co-owner of BearWaters Brewing Company in Canton, have been tapped for two-year terms as members of Folkmoot’s board of directors.
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.
With experience in cultural costuming, museum management and dance, Meister will serve on Folkmoot’s program committee. She has worked with Folkmoot to create exhibits in the Queen Auditorium at the Friendship Center and will assist in building educational programs in honor of Folkmoot supporter and Scottish heritage expert, Flora Gammon.
Sandefur has been involved with Folkmoot as a participant and supporter for many years. He is joining the board with an interest in incorporating international foods and beverages to the festival lineup and building festival activities for youth and families.
In 2018, Folkmoot will receive a portion of proceeds from BearWaters Mango Lager, sold in cans at nearby grocery stores. For the second year, BearWaters will host the Canton performance After Party at the Brewery where a portion of beer sales will benefit Folkmoot.
Folkmoot’s year-round programming initiatives have been made possible by Haywood Regional Medical Center, the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, Cherokee Preservation Foundation and Western Carolina University.
Folkmoot is a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating many cultures in one community. The Folkmoot Friendship Center is located in the Historic Hazelwood School at 112 Virginia Avenue in Waynesville.
Folkmoot, a word meaning “meeting of the people,” provides communities all over Western North Carolina the opportunity to build a deeper sense of connection, mutual respect and shared purpose by experiencing other cultures.
In 1973, Dr. Clinton Border, a Waynesville surgeon, accompanied a local square dance team to a folk festival in Sidmouth, England. There began the dream that would, 11 years later, become Folkmoot USA.
Border was convinced that Western North Carolina, which was already steeped in tradition and dedicated to the preservation of its own heritage, was the perfect location for an international folk festival in the United States. During the next few years, Border traveled to other festivals in Poland and France and began gathering information and developing contacts. He also started contacting local government and community leaders back home.
By 1983, Border was ready to present his vision to Haywood County’s community leaders. Despite language barriers and the inherent scheduling difficulties involved in getting foreign performers from their homes to Haywood County, Border believed something invaluable occurs when cultures so rich in tradition come together to share their lives.
One month after Border’s presentation to community leaders, a board of directors met to launch Folkmoot USA, the North Carolina International Folk Festival.