Amidst all of last year’s romping, stomping, clogging and dancing during Folkmoot USA, one event may have slipped off the radar of festival attendees.
When most people think about Folkmoot, they doubtlessly think about the huge 10-day international folk dance festival that has taken over Western North Carolina each July for more than three decades.
Over the course of the six Cultural Conversations sessions I participated in at Folkmoot, our diverse little group — sitting in one big circle — learned a lot about ourselves, and each other.
Cultural bias and conflict aren’t new to Western North Carolina; chattel slavery and Cherokee removal still leave a deep and painful legacy for many in the region — something Folkmoot’s Cultural Conversations program seeks to remedy.
Hundreds, if not thousands of “civic ambassador” programs begin each month in cities and counties across the nation, including in Haywood County, where the Chamber of Commerce’s eight-session Leadership Haywood program yearly produces a dozen or more “civic ambassadors” armed with firsthand knowledge of how all sectors of the community might work together in harmony.
Arriving in Waynesville shortly before last year’s Folkmoot Friendship Festival, I like many who’d come before me had no idea what it was.