Gordon Mercer and Marcia Mercer Global Digital Post

Global Digital Post: 8th Annual Franklin Folk Festival

"If we don't work to preserve and understand our folk heritage, what will be left of the bonds and shared ways that hold our community together? The world would be a dull place without our folk heritage traditions." Theresa Ramsey


Franklin, NC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 07/05/2011 --We were certain last year’s outstanding Franklin Folk Festival could not be improved. Recently Gordon interviewed some of the organizers of the 8th Annual Franklin Folk Festival on WFSC. Arriving home, he realized how captivated he was by their enthusiasm, hard work and many ideas to make this year’s festival the best yet.

The 2011 Franklin Folk Festival is Saturday July 16th with start-up activities beginning on Friday, July 15th. The 2010 Festival had visitors from about half of the states indicating incredible outreach and economic impact. In a world filled with emails, text messages and digital images, people long for the authentic and real. People will travel to find it.

Theresa Ramsey, chair of the Franklin Folk Festival, explains that folk heritage includes crafts, trades, history, agriculture, music, dance, culture and other past ways of doing things. According to Margaret Ramsey, chair of the Folk Heritage Association, there will be 100 plus heritage demonstrations including; quilting, weaving, pottery, shingles, split rails, hand-hewn bowls, doll making, moonshine stills, and Chinquapin jewelry that were in many cases, “serious life necessities” in earlier periods. “Unless demonstrations are authentic and part of our community heritage,” said Theresa, “they are not included.” Barbara McRae, Editor of the Franklin Press, felt authenticity and connectivity to mountain culture were stand out features of the Franklin Folk Festival. This is an authentic celebration of our heritage culture, they all asserted.

Whether you are interested in mountain music, mountain dancing, heritage demonstrations, parades, antique tractors, antique cars, front porch storytelling, lost and existing trails, or want to know more about the skills, dedication and design work behind some of the world’s best known quilts (made in Franklin!) or want to visit with Civil War reenactors camp; plan to attend!

Mountain music, gospel singing, mountain music jammers and mountain dancing will be back on stage. The High Mountain Squares and The Flat Possum Hoppers will be performing. Tom Estes will be on the Banjo and Tim Lynch will play the Dulcimer. Expect great performances by the Sweet Tater Band, Deitz Family Band and Men Macon Music. The Dendy Family, Seeds of Faith, Nikwasi Dulcimer Players, The Five O’Clock Shadows and Rye Hollow Bluegrass & Gospel Band will be there to perform. All performers will be demonstrating authentic mountain music and singing including Pauline Marr, who will be teaching mountain clogging. These are only a few of the outstanding performers.

We owe a great deal to the organizers of the Franklin Fold Festival. A sense of sameness, of blandness envelopes the world, when folk cultures are lost. Our traditions and heritage support us, helping us express our uniqueness, our individuality, and providing us with a secure foundation from which to transition into the future.

Without those who work to preserve our heritage, a rich and authentic part of mountain living would be lost. Wouldn’t it be a boring world without our living heritage? As we look forward to the upcoming 2011 Franklin Folk Festival, we reflect on how fortunate we are to have the music, dance, trades and cultural folkways of our shared heritage. With our folk heritage inspired in part by the majesty of mountains, streams, rivers, forests and ever present wild life, authenticity is never far away in Franklin.

*North Carolina Now on UNC-TV will feature the Franklin Folk Festival with scenes from last year on Thursday, July 7 at 9: 00 p.m. and again on Friday, July 8 at 8: 30 p.m.

Dr. Gordon Mercer is international president of Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society and is professor emeritus at Western Carolina University. Marcia Mercer is a writer and columnist. The Global Digital Post is read in over 38 different countries.