My name is Myah Baird. I would like to formally introduce myself as the newest member of Folkmoot USA in Waynesville, North Carolina.
I am joining Folkmoot as an intern writer and blogger through Western Carolina University, where I attend school.
I am nineteen years old and working on my major in political science with a minor in international studies and journalism. I am in my second semester of school and so excited to be learning in these beautiful mountains.
My hobbies include writing, hiking, snowboarding, reading, singing, playing my guitar and ukulele, spending time with my friends, and traveling.
A quote I choose to live by comes from the great Albert Einstein: “The only source of knowledge is experience”.
This resonates with me as I think about my future with Folkmoot. If there’s anything I want from life, it is experience. My goal is to truly learn about our world and the way we all function in order to work together despite all of the barriers we face; cultural, linguistic, political, religious and others.
I began writing at an early age in my hometown Franklin, winning state awards as a young author. Of course I have always written in my journal; writing about people and how we think, what makes us different and the unique aspects of our lifestyles. These are all subjects about which I hope to write pieces for Folkmoot.
I will be conducting interviews with local people, spending time with this year’s Folkmoot Festival international visitors, as well as blogging online to keep everyone updated. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for this opportunity and I hope you all can enjoy this experience with me as I learn more about our world’s beautiful diversity.
Folkmoot 2018 is set for July 19-29 at performance venues in Haywood County, North Carolina and across the Western Carolina region. Tickets for some performances are already available online. Others will be added soon.
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.