Last updated on August 5, 2022
By Theresa Ramsey
The 16th Annual Franklin Area Folk Festival, “A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage” will be held on Saturday, August 20, 2022, from 10 am to 4 pm at Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center. Nestled in Cowee West’s Mill Historic District at 51 Cowee School Drive in Franklin, NC, the Center is a unique showcase for demonstrating the everyday skills, crafts and music of our ancestors. And it is a FREE event! We will follow CDC and NC state mandates/guidelines in regard to COVID19.
What can you expect?
Celebrating all things Appalachian, this family-friendly festival features live heritage demonstrations, Appalachian crafts, jammin’ sessions that feature old-time mountain music and bluegrass, kids’ activities, food, textiles & more! Artisans inside Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center will exhibit Macon County’s rich heritage by teaching us about pottery, textiles, painting, old toys and local culture and history. By linking our future to our past, the Franklin Area Folk Festival sponsors hands-on activities through demonstrations to allow visitors to experience what mountain life was like years ago. These folks learned at their parents’ knee woodcarving, moonshinin’, weaving and spinning, and all the many other heritage skills they’ll be demonstrating.
Some additional highlights include special quilts on display (like the famous Cabarras Quilt, The Celebrate America Autograph Quilt, etc.), flint napping, woodworking/ woodcarving, Border Collies’ demonstrations, bee keeping, weaving, old-time music and more. Performances of mountain music, gospel and bluegrass tunes exemplify a very important cultural heritage of the Appalachian region. Special musical performances will include: Kornbread Kreek, Rainbows End, Frank Lee & Emolyn Liden, Nikwasi Dulcimers, Lady & the Tramps, Susan Pepper and Shelia Kay Adams, the White Sisters and roving musicians Wyatt Duvall and Richard Tichich. J Creek Cloggers, sponsored by the Arts Council of Macon County and storytelling with Shelia Kay Adams, sponsored by Suminski Family Books, are sure to be crowd pleasers! In addition to performance stages inside and outside, we are partnering with Old Time Music groups to provide jammin’ sessions. Festival-goers are encouraged to bring their instruments and join in! Once known as the Quilting Capital of the World, displays from the Smoky Mountain Quilter’s Guild and Cowee Quilters will help showcase this important heritage. Also, there will be vendors selling Appalachian crafts in addition to demonstrators with their goods available for purchase.
If you drive out to the festival, free parking will be designated offsite with a shuttle to drop you off right at the front door of Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center. Just follow signs for offsite parking and take the shuttle to the school from one of these two parking locations:
- Cowee Baptist Church (6301 Bryson City Rd) – Regular and Handicapped
- Snow Hill UMC (330 Snow Hill Rd) – No Handicapped Parking Shuttles at site
Or there will be FREE Downtown Parking & Shuttle Service to Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center located at:
- 17 West Palmer Street (vacant lot adjacent to Appalachian Ace Hardware/below the Lazy Hiker Brewery on the corner of West Palmer & Porter Streets). 9:30 am until 3:00 pm – shuttle will run every 30 minutes out to Cowee School.
Kids Activities begin at 10:00 am
Beginning at 10:00 am at the Kids’ Activity Tent located mid-field, kids of all ages are encouraged to play old-fashioned lawn games such as egg races, sack races, and tug-o-war or take the milk “cow” challenge. At designated times under the tent, kids can also make crafts (banjos and corn husk dolls) or try their hand at weaving or butter churning. Additional kid focused activities scattered around both inside and outside on the grounds include the Smoky Mtn. Quilter’s Guild Make-it/Take-it sewing item, corn shellin’, Border Collie demonstrations, dancing jacks with fiddle music by Richard Tichich, Macon County 4-H crafts with exhibit of traditional toys and friendly goats, free books from Read-to-Me, face painting by Macon Faces and Henna, ornament making in the pottery room or weaving in the hall by Cowee Textiles. Also, kids can take a step back in time and use a washboard to clean clothes, stop by the Civil War Re-enactors Camp, or experiment with antique implements and old tools at the Back Porch for a heritage photo op. Kids young and old are sure to enjoy this fun filled, historic day as we embrace life as it was in the early days.
For more information visit FranklinFolkFestival.com or call (828) 524-6564
Come learn about the culture and folkways of our Southern Appalachian Mountains by engaging in one of the many living history experiences, a trademark of the Franklin Area Folk Festival, “A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage.” This FREE event is co-sponsored annually by the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County and the Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center with support from Cowee Community Development Organization, Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce, Arts Council of Macon County and others. This festival is made possible by grants from the Franklin/Nantahala Tourism Development Committee, the Tourism Development Authority of the Town of Franklin along with funding from local businesses and individuals. For more information visit: FranklinFolkFestival.com or call (828) 524-6564.