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Help kick off the oldest folk festival in the country

The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, the country’s longest running folk festival, will celebrate its 83rd year of highlighting mountain culture this week.

The celebration kicks off 7 p.m. nightly from Thursday, Aug. 5, to Saturday, Aug. 7. at the Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place in downtown Asheville. Tickets are on sale now.

The festival formally showcases an extensive repertoire of mountain performers — old-timers as well as the newest generation of bluegrass and mountain string bands, ballad singers, big circle mountain dancers and cloggers who share music and dance that echo centuries of Scottish, English, Irish, Cherokee and African heritage.

The first night is Hometown Appreciation Night. In keeping with the grassroots flavor of the festival, local families and individuals are encouraged to attend to help kick off the festival.

Each evening features at least four dance teams from the very young to the young at heart. The popular and long-standing house band the Stoney Creek Boys returns to perform each evening.

Highlighted throughout this year’s Mountain Dance and Folk Festival are “Legacy Performers.” These individuals are recognized as having made significant contributions to our region’s musical heritage over several decades. Among the designated Legacy Performers this year are Ralph Lewis of Sons of Ralph; Paul Crouch, a self-taught fiddler; and Betty Smith, a music scholar and balladeer.

For the complete lineup and more info, 828.258.6101 ext. 345 or www.folkheritage.org.

Tickets (Regular $20; Children 12 and under $10; 3 night package $54) available from the Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place box office, 828.257.4530 or www.dwtheatre.com.

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