This year's theme for Archives Month is "The Lighter Side of Tarheelia: Fun, Frolic, and Festivals in the Old North State." Today's post is contributed by Sarah Downing from the Western Regional Archives of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
The Haywood County town of Waynesville is home to North Carolina’s International Festival—Folkmoot. Each July, troupes of folk dancers and musicians from around the globe perform, and while scores of ensembles apply, only 8-10 are selected each year.
Colorful Folkmoot dancer, ca. 2007
The event was the brainchild of Dr. Clinton Border, following a trip he took to Europe with a group of local square dancers. Border reasoned that because western North Carolina has such a rich cultural history, hosting a dance festival—featuring a myriad of cultures from around the world—would be an endeavor for which the region was well suited. His hunch was right, and since its inception in 1984, Folkmoot has hosted hundreds of dancers from scores of nations. One hundred thousand people are drawn to Waynesville each summer to see one or more of the performances.
This year’s event hosted dancers from Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Ukraine as well as local cloggers and a Cherokee group.
In 2016, Western Regional Archives in Asheville received a donation of 9 cubic feet of records from Folkmoot. The Folkmoot USA Records (1983-2008) contain correspondence, photographs, and videos.