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!


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!

How to Volunteer for the Festival

With the Folkmoot Festival just around the corner, there are still a lot of donations and requests to be coordinated before our groups arrive in July.

We had a successful volunteer meeting on May 15th, including a discussion about our basic volunteer needs for the festival and a new donation’s list for the coming months.

There are plenty of opportunities for volunteers to help us prepare our facility for the upcoming festival. One important one is our Saturday Volunteer Days.  Each month before the festival we have one Saturday dedicated to sprucing up the building.   Our next two Saturday Volunteer Days are Saturday, May 20th, and Saturday, June 24th from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Lunch will be provided on both days. These mornings are usually filled with painting, preparing the beds, cleaning rooms, changing light fixtures or lawn care. It’s always a great way to meet different people in our community and to get involved with the festival.

I encourage all who are interested to get involved.  There is a lot of love to be shared through Folkmoot both with our 10-day festival as well as our year-round programming. While helping Folkmoot run smoothly and cost effectively on a year-round basis, you are being an important part of an organization that helps our community engage in cultural conversations and work to eliminate cultural bias while embracing our differences. Your involvement will be more rewarding than you might imagine, and our hope is to unite our community in a way never thought possible.

Our monthly meetings are year-round and occur every 3rd Monday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at the Folkmoot Friendship Center. If you aren’t able to attend each meeting, there will also be a monthly email sent out to our volunteers that shares what they missed and how to get involved.

For more information about how to volunteer, be a part of our monthly volunteer meetings, and get on our email list, contact Catherine MacCallum at 828.452.2997 ext 105 or catherine@folkmoot.org.

Currently, we are seeking the following donations:

  • new bath towels
  • new wash clothes
  • thick plastic hangers
  • new boxed fans
  • new ironing board pads & covers
  • ironing boards
  • light blankets

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

Meet Catherine MacCallum, new Operations & Volunteer Coordinator

There is some exciting news to share at Folkmoot!

You will see a new face at the Folkmoot Friendship Center, ME!  My name is Catherine MacCallum, and I am the new Operations and Volunteer Coordinator (some may remember me by the last name of Crowe).

I am no stranger to Folkmoot, as I interned for the festival in the summer of 2010 and 2011 and volunteered during last year’s festival.  Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you how much Folkmoot has meant to me since my internship.  As a travel enthusiast, Folkmoot was the best internship I could have ever had.  I was honored to be chosen in 2010 for the internship and it has changed my life and the way I now view cultural understanding.

I was born and raised in the Triad near Winston-Salem, NC. I attended Western Carolina University where I met my husband junior year.  After moving to Kentucky for my husband’s pursuit of his master’s degree, we came back to western North Carolina. To say we were over the moon to be back and then for me to connect with Folkmoot is an understatement.  The stars could not have aligned any straighter when this opportunity opened up to work for the festival!

As the new Operations & Volunteer Coordinator, I will be managing our wonderful volunteers for all aspects of our year-round programming and during our 10 day festival in July.  I will also be handling all operations of events in the Friendship Center, fundraising events, and performances.  You will also find me working on improvements at the Friendship Center and organizing “lawn care days” for example.

Something new I will be working on is a monthly volunteer meeting and newsletter to keep everyone in our community up to date on happenings and opportunities to volunteer! There is so much fun to be had at our center and I want to have lots of opportunities for community members to get involved.  If you haven’t volunteered with us in the past and want more information please feel free to contact me at catherine@folkmoot.org.

I can’t wait to embrace this year’s festival and everything Folkmoot has to offer to our community! I look forward to this new beginning in my life and meeting all of the Friends of Folkmoot!


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