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.
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.