What’s A Folkmoot?

Performers from El Alma de la Luna of Spain at the Folkmoot “Parade of Nations” in Waynesville, North Carolina

Tell just about anyone around here that you’re headed to Asheville, Boone, Blowing Rock or Cherokee, and they know where you’re going and likely have been there themselves.  Tell someone you are going to Waynesville, and just about everyone says “where’s Waynesville?”  Tell someone you are going to Waynesville for Folkmoot and they just get confused.  “Where for what?”

Performers from El Alma de la Luna of Spain at the Folkmoot “Parade of Nations” in Waynesville, North Carolina
Performers from El Alma de la Luna of Spain at the Folkmoot “Parade of Nations” in Waynesville, North Carolina

When I was photographing for Our State and WNC magazines I took photographs to accompany articles about small towns in the western part of NC.  Waynesville has become our favorite mountain town for a number of years and we keep returning.  We’ve become friends with the couple who owns a small motel there, interestingly the same motel where my family used to stay when we visited from Pennsylvania.  Waynesville has several restaurants we really like, a coffee roaster that makes my favorite coffee, and is ideally located for access to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Members of the Kecskemet Folk Dance Ensemble of Hungary perform at the Folkmoot “Parade of Nations” in Waynesville, North Carolina
Members of the Kecskemet Folk Dance Ensemble of Hungary perform at the Folkmoot “Parade of Nations” in Waynesville, North Carolina
Performers from the Bahamas Platinum Knights Junkanoo at the Folkmoot “Parade of Nations” in Waynesville, North Carolina
Performers from the Bahamas Platinum Knights Junkanoo at the Folkmoot “Parade of Nations” in Waynesville, North Carolina

Every year in July, Waynesville hosts Folkmoot.  Webster defines a ‘folkmoot’ as a general assembly of the people (as of a shire) in early England”  Folkmoot in Waynesville has traditionally been a two week festival of international friendship and fellowship, highlighted by dance and musical performances.  The Folkmoot organization has recently begun to evolve into a year-round cultural center, with programs and events that celebrate diversity, encourage cultural conversation, and preserve and honor worldwide cultural heritages.

Members of the Student Folkloric Ensemble “Martisorul” from Romania at the Folkmoot “Parade of Nations” in Waynesville, North Carolina
Members of the Student Folkloric Ensemble “Martisorul” from Romania at the Folkmoot “Parade of Nations” in Waynesville, North Carolina

We have been to Waynesville during Folkmoot several times in the past but have limited our participation to the Parade of Nations that is held one Saturday.  This year we also purchased tickets and attended the opening ceremony, where all of the performers are featured in an indoor (and air-conditioned!) setting.  I didn’t photograph there, but we did attend the parade the following day.  I think I would like to eventually participate more, but for now we can be glad that we did something we hadn’t done previously.

Folkmoot “Parade of Nations” in Waynesville, North Carolina
Performers from the National Folkloric Dance Troupe of Egypt at the Folkmoot “Parade of Nations” in Waynesville, North Carolina
Representatives from the Cherokee Indians in the Folkmoot “Parade of Nations” in Waynesville, North Carolina

Here is a small selection of photos from the parade.  It is a lot of fun to attend, and I think I captured some photos that represent what it is all about!

Folkmoot “Parade of Nations” in Waynesville, North Carolina
Representatives from the United States at the Folkmoot “Parade of Nations” in Waynesville, North Carolina

 

4 thoughts on “What’s A Folkmoot?”

  1. Well, I have been to Waynesville, but I must admit that I’ve never heart of Folkmoot. So, I would have said: Going to see a what? 😀

    I learned about that and that you used to write and photograph for NC Magazine. Who knows, I may have even read some of your articles, as I used to read that magazine when I first move to NC, 15 years ago.

  2. Yeah Paul, that was my “10 minutes of fame,” back when magazines paid for work and didn’t rely on interns and $1 stock photos for content. Fun while it lasted and I still enjoy visiting the places!

  3. I’m with Paul, “A what?” You have some colorful images showing how abundant colors were that day. I think it is so neat to see cultures come together for such a a day of fun and companionship. Events like this have the potential to help us understand each other. Our world needs more of that!

    1. I think “folkmoot” is what we refer to as an “SAT word!” 😉

      I agree with you, Monte. There was a lot of commentary regarding the need for more fellowship, understanding and mutual respect heard throughout the weekend.

      Colors were in abundance for sure – a good weekend for Velvia! 🙂

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