Last updated August 5, 2022
By Theresa Ramsey
The 16th Annual Franklin Area Folk Festival, “A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage,” will be held Saturday, August 20, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center. Nestled in the historic Mill District of Cowee West at 51 Cowee School Drive in Franklin, NC, the Center is a unique showcase to demonstrate the everyday skills, crafts and music of our ancestors. And it’s a FREE event! We will follow state CDC and NC mandates/guidelines regarding COVID19.
What can you expect?
Celebrating all things Appalachian, this family-friendly festival features live heritage demonstrations, Appalachian crafts, jam sessions with mountain music and old-world bluegrass, kids’ activities, food, textiles and more! The artisans of the Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center will showcase the rich heritage of Macon County teaching us about pottery, textiles, painting, antique toys, local culture and history. Connecting 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 people learned on their parents’ knees woodcarving, moonworking, weaving and spinning, and all the many other heritage skills they will demonstrate.
Some additional highlights include special quilts on display (like the famous Cabarras quilt, Celebrate America autograph quilt, etc.), flint nap, woodworking/wood carving, Border Collies demonstrations, beekeeping, weaving, early music and more. Performances of mountain music, gospel and bluegrass illustrate 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 touring musicians Wyatt Duvall and Richard Tichich. J Creek Cloggers sponsored by the Macon County Arts Council and Storytelling with Shelia Kay Adams sponsored by Suminski Family Books are sure to be a crowd pleaser! In addition to indoor and outdoor performance stages, we partner with early music groups to offer jammin sessions. Festival-goers are encouraged to bring their instruments and participate! Once known as the Quilting Capital of the World, exhibits by the Smoky Mountain Quilter’s Guild and Cowee Quilters will help showcase this important heritage. Additionally, there will be Appalachian craft vendors in addition to demonstrators with their wares available for purchase.
If you are driving to the festival, there will be free designated off-site parking with a shuttle to drop you off right outside the front door of the Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center. Simply follow the off-site parking signs and take the shuttle to the school from either of these two parking lots:
- Cowee Baptist Church (6301 Bryson City Rd) – Regular and Disabled
- Snow Hill UMC (330 Snow Hill Rd) – No disabled parking shuttles on site
Or there will be FREE downtown parking and a shuttle service to the Cowee School Arts and Heritage Center located at:
- 17 West Palmer Street (vacant land adjacent to Appalachian Ace Hardware / under the Lazy Hiker Brewery at the corner of West Palmer and Porter Streets). 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – a shuttle will run every 30 minutes to Cowee School.
Children’s activities start at 10:00 a.m.
Beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the children’s activity tent in the middle of the grounds, children of all ages are encouraged to play old-fashioned lawn games such as egg races, sack races and tug of war or take “cow” milk. challenge. At specific times in the tent, children can also do crafts (banjos and corn husk dolls) or try their hand at weaving or churning butter. Other child-focused activities scattered indoors and outdoors on the grounds include the Smoky Mtn. Quilter’s Guild Make-it/Take-it sewing item, corn husking, Border Collie demonstrations, dancing valets with fiddle music by Richard Tichich , Macon County 4-H Crafts with a display of traditional toys and friendly goats, free Read-to-Me books, face painting by Macon Faces and Henna, ornament making in the pottery room or weaving in the lobby by Cowee Textiles. Plus, kids can step back in time and use a washboard to clean clothes, stop at the Civil War Reenactment Camp, or experiment with vintage tools and old tools at the Back Porch for a heritage photo op. . Children young and old are sure to enjoy this historic fun-filled day as we embrace life as it was in the beginning.
For more information, visit FranklinFolkFestival.com or call (828) 524-6564
Come experience the culture and folk traditions of our Southern Appalachia by engaging in one of many living history experiences, a trademark of the Franklin Area Folk Festival, “A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage.” This FREE event is co-sponsored each year 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 through grants from the Franklin/Nantahala Tourism Development Committee, the City of Franklin Tourism Development Authority as well as funding from local businesses and individuals. For more information, visit: FranklinFolkFestival.com or call (828) 524-6564.