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Folkmoot Festival coming to town

Jonesborough will be the first venue outside the State of North Carolina to serve as a performance site for the Folkmoot Festival.
Folkmoot is a two-week celebration of the world’s cultural heritage through folk music and dance. Held each summer, Folkmoot features performances, a parade and workshops by up to 350 performers from 10 to 12 countries.
Public performances for Folkmoot are held at venues throughout Western North Carolina in the towns of Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, Maggie Valley, Canton, Clyde, Highlands, Bryson City, Cullowhee, Asheville, Columbus, Burnsville, Marion, Mars Hill, Flat Rock, Stecoah and Franklin.
Town Administrator Bob Browning said it is an honor for the town to be chosen as the first out-of-state venue.
“The festival committee met a couple of weeks ago and voted, and they are very excited about coming to Jonesborough,” he said.
The Folkmoot Festival will celebrate 28 years during the 2011 event that will be held July 21-31.
While the schedule is still being compiled, initial plans are to have three of the Folkmoot groups perform in Jonesborough on Saturday, July 23, at the Visitors Center at 2 p.m.
“We had a couple of options on the day and time, and we thought this would work best for several reasons,” Browning said. “It’s a good time to have people in town because the stores are open, and we thought an afternoon performance would offer some connection time as opposed to an evening performance after which they would be needing to get back to North Carolina.”
Jonesborough is neither paying a fee nor receiving a stipend for serving as a Folkmoot venue, and Browning said promotion will be a joint effort.
“(Town tourism director) Alicia Phelps is already talking with the planners about a marketing plan,” he said.
During its history, more than 200 folk groups from over 100 countries have shared their cultures at the Folkmoot Festival. Performers demonstrate cultural heritage through colorful, authentic and original reproduction costumes, lively dance and traditional music.
Browning said serving as the newest Folkmoot venue is a great opportunity.
“A very large percentage of people on this side of the mountain doesn’t even know of the festival,” he said.