The 10th Annual Franklin Folk Festival, “A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage” will be held on Saturday, July 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Franklin. The festival is an event for all ages with children’s activities planned all day long. The adults can get in on the fun and stop by Fire Department Area on Main Street, visit one of many heritage demonstrators scattered throughout the grounds, shop for Appalachian arts and crafts, stop in and talk with a local author at Books Unlimited, peruse the old cars at the Antique Car Show, stop in to see the quilts on display inside Tartan Hall or church history exhibits/school exhibits and antiques inside the Fellowship Hall of the First Baptist Church. As you stroll through the streets, listen to the sounds from the various music venues and take in all the smells from the assorted food vendors. Many downtown businesses and museums will also have special Appalachian displays inside and natural heritage groups will have exhibits on Phillips Street. Farm animals, vintage tool displays and exhibits as well as antique fire trucks and equipment are always favorites.
One of our biggest displays this year will be the Local Foods demonstration area with returning favorites like Fred Bulgin and Bob Wells making hominy, Larry Stout’s sorghum cane mill, Peggy Huscusson with ginseng, and the Macon County Beekeepers’ Association. The Carringers will add a jam-making display to their produce, eggs, and baked goods. This year, the festival will be joined by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) whose vision is of “strong farms, thriving local food economies, and healthy communities where farming is valued as central to our heritage and our future.”
The Poultry Club of Macon County also joins the festival this year with heritage breed chickens. N.C. Co-op Extension and Community Association (ECA) will have a display about food preservation, a stenciling activity for children and a device on hand for testing pressure canner lids. Also, displays featuring community gardens will be part of this area.
Entertainment at the Franklin Folk Festival
One of the key components of this festival has always been entertainment and this year promises to be better than ever with expanded venues to spotlight heritage music. Residents and visitors alike will have an opportunity to step back in time as they listen to old-time, bluegrass and gospel music performed at different venues throughout the day.
Entertainment schedules will be posted on big signs located at the Gazebo Main Stage and the Jammin’ Tent.
Among the entertainers will be John Hawk starting at 9 a.m., followed by High Mountain Squares, The Kollard Kings, Speaking-in- Tunes, Five O’clock Shadows, Heritage Alive Youth Talent Contest, Deitz Family Band and Conservation Theory will close the stage beginning at 3 p.m.
The Church in the Wildwood inside the First Baptist Church Chapel will be a great spot to come in and cool off and listen to gospel music anchored deep in our Appalachian roots: Seeds of Faith will kick off at 9 a.m. followed by Dave Stewart, Dryman’s Chapel, Nikwasi Dulcimer Players, Country Memories, Men Macon Music, the Carolines, Carolina Dusk, Nathan Parrish, The HIMS, and at 3:15 p.m., the Ubuntu Singers will complete the lineup.
The Jammin’ Tent will be open all day and hosts Tim Lynch/John Leigh will get everyone started at 9 a.m. Bring your instruments and pull up a chair so you can join in the pickin’. The Jammin’ Tent will have seats in the shade to just sit, relax and listen to the lively tunes.
Macon County Art’s Council will present Heritage Stories & Songs for Kids featuring Ms. Patti (Patti McClure) at 10 a.m. followed by Appalachian Tales & Lore by Wendel Craker at 11:15; and Tom Hill will present Cherokee Legends & Myths at 12:30 p.m. These professional storytellers are made possible by the N.C. Arts Council’s Grassroots support and are provided by the Macon County Art’s Council. This year the storytelling will be inside the lower level of Town Hall (board room) on Main Street, a convenient, easy access location that is air conditioned.
Outside under the tent near the Antique Car Show, JimBob will treat you to Americana songs that are sure to bring back memories at the Mtn. Meeting Place.
Older residents share their stories while being video recorded from the Front Porch, located behind Town Hall. Storyteller Greg Clark will perform there during the noon hour. Civil War re-enactors will be camped down at Frogtown, featuring infantry drilling and firing demonstrations.
The First Presbyterian Church Chapel will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Mary Lou Hooper will tell the history of the old Chapel built in 1854 in between performances by the Chapel Band, the Carolines and the Southern Appalachian Boys. Local favorite Ronnie Evans will be performing from 2 to 4 p.m. inside Tartan Hall, adjacent to the Chapel on Church Street.
Fighting Fire Through the Years
Franklin Fire and Rescue Department will be a part the 10th Annual Franklin Folk Festival. A fire engine parade will commence at 9 a.m. beginning at Franklin Fire and Rescue, 49 Maple Street, proceeding down Palmer Drive turning left on Riverview Street and following the detour route to finish on Main Street in front of the Motor Company Grill where all the trucks will be on display. Residents along the route are encouraged to come out and show support for the Franklin Fire Department.
A smaller, Bucket Brigade Challenge will be free for kids ages 5- 12. Free commemorative buttons will be handed out to children visiting the area and commemorative t-shirts, glasses, baked goods, and boiled peanuts will be for sale by the newly-formed Franklin Fire Department Auxiliary. The history of the Franklin Fire and Rescue Department can be viewed at the Commemorative tent.
At 11 a.m., the Southern Appalachian Boys will play a mix of bluegrass, gospel and old-time music, ending with their hit tune, “5 pounds of Possum in my Headlights Tonight.” At 1 p.m., the Late Nite Kids (Nick Vuto and Nick Prestia) will perform a mixture of popular folk rock and original tunes.
Theresa Ramsey and Claire Suminski contributed to this article.