This is a letter of thanksgiving, and perhaps at first glance, readers might expect it to appear in November. While we will most assuredly also be grateful then, we wanted to take the time now to express our thanks and gratitude as we near the 34th annual Folkmoot Festival, July 20 – 30, 2017.
There is much for which we are grateful, as there are so many businesses, organizations and individuals in Haywood County, and throughout the region, who work together in the spirit of true collaboration to help sustain our world-class festival and create a welcoming sense of community. To the advertisers who support the Festival, many of whom contact us even before we have a chance to contact them, – GRACIAS (Argentina). To the sponsors who make activities and programs happen throughout the year – HVALA (Slovenia). To the volunteers who year-after-year serve on our boards and committees and who tirelessly work for 10 days during the Festival – BLAGODARYA (Russia). To the Friends of Folkmoot and other donors who share their financial support that not only keeps us going, but allows us to grow – TODA (Israel). To media partners who help us stretch our dollars by matching tourism development contributions – DHANYAVAAD (India). To our own regional partners and neighbors who share with us and the world the pride in their Cherokee and Appalachian cultures and traditions – SGI (Cherokee). To the towns and cities who host our ever-expanding Festival outreach concerts and dances – DIOLCH (Wales). And to so many students, families, retirees, locals, visitors, non-profit organizations, government agencies, businesses and institutions of higher learning who selflessly share their time and talents to help Folkmoot achieve its objective of bridging cultural differences and expanding cultural awareness through entertainment and education – DANK JE (Netherlands)!
For all of you who are involved in Folkmoot’s efforts to build a sense of cultural acceptance and community, I am deeply grateful — TO-SAIA (Taiwan). Recognizing your ongoing commitment has made it an honor for our staff to serve this organization. You have helped us welcome the world to the WNC mountains and in doing so, have helped us meet friends who become global advocates for respect and understanding of all sorts of cultures, traditions and peoples. With this Festival, the WNC mountain communities celebrate what bridges cultures and brings us together and we have applied many of your good suggestions on how to make the 2017 festival the best ever.
Generations of our community have put their energy into building Folkmoot as a world class international folk festival while also working to revitalize the historic Hazelwood school. So many community members have contributed to reimagining programs and activities and we hope you all enjoy the results this summer. Folkmoot is experiencing positive growth because of our community’s investment. We couldn’t do it without you.
On behalf of myself and the Folkmoot staff — THANK YOU.