The region’s longest-running multicultural event is back after a two-year hiatus to bring people together to celebrate cultural diversity. The Fayetteville & Cumberland County Arts Council invites everyone to come together as one community for its 44th Annual International Folk Festival.
The planned three-day event will take place Friday, September 23 through Sunday, September 25 at Festival Park and historic downtown Fayetteville.
The International Folklore Festival will act as a grand stage to showcase the heritage of over 30 cultural groups as they share their art and cuisine.
Historically, the event has attracted thousands of attendees due to its impressive offering of cultural festivities, unique performances and a wide selection of culinary discoveries.
In a world where headlines often highlight divisive attitudes and agendas, the International Folk Festival creates an opportunity for unity and appreciation among those who wish to celebrate the remarkable differences that exist between cultures and peoples.
“Our festival has always brought the community together to interact with different cultures and celebrate what makes us unique,” said Bob Pinson, Acting President and CEO of the Canada Council. “Our festival reminds us that we are stronger together and that we will achieve more than we ever could as individuals.”
The festival kicks off Friday, September 23 as part of downtown Fayetteville’s long-standing Fourth Friday tradition.
Saturday, September 24 will feature the Parade of Nations, considered one of the most fascinating aspects of the international folk festival. From 9 a.m. to noon, representatives from more than 30 nations will proudly don traditional dress and wave their nation’s flags in front of thousands of spectators. Colorful exhibits and traditional dances provide guests with a unique travel opportunity without even having to buy a ticket.
After the parade and on Sunday, September 25, a literal world of possibilities awaits participants as they travel from country to country, sampling a bit of each through the art of their culture. Let’s go around the world together will take place from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Guests can enjoy the benefits of a festival well done by browsing through a generous abundance of dining and entertainment options available throughout the day.
This year there will be around 30 food vendors, 20 of them international. Offering everything from Thai tea to fried Oreos, the festival will deliver on its promise of having a little something for everyone. Haiti and Azerbaijan are new to the culinary scene this year and will share their country’s cuisine at the International Folk Festival for the first time this year.
As patrons enjoy food from around the world, they will also be able to witness spectacular cultural demonstrations through shows and artistic performances. From the festival’s many stages, attendees can admire the steel drums and exotic headdresses of the North Carolina Brazilian Arts Project, get carried away by the beat of Africa Unplugged, and experience many other amazing performances from around the world.
An extremely family-friendly event, the International Folklore Festival’s “World Of Wonder” will be a creative space to encourage young artists in Cumberland County. Fun activities and crafts that facilitate cultural education make this an ideal event for homeschooled families or parents looking for something fun to do with the kids over the weekend.
Up and coming every week spoke with local homeschool mom Cari Piatt about her thoughts on the festival and its value to the community.
“As a homeschooled parent, I’m excited to introduce my children to new cultures and experiences,” Piatt explained. “It’s incredibly beneficial to our curriculum and our family life. We live in a diverse community. It is important that my children learn about cultures and ways of life that are different from ours.
In keeping with its commitment to enriching the lives of Cumberland County residents, the festival will also include several opportunities for attendees to experience, create or observe art as it is created.
The Festival Arts Market will feature over 30 arts and crafts vendors with stalls selling handmade creations and other merchandise to purchase throughout the festival. Life-size art installations and murals will also be on display to create a truly immersive experience. As a thoughtful and interesting touch, chalk artists, fade artists, and other live artists will be on hand to show guests art in real time.
The International Folklore Festival not only serves as a place to meet and exchange with cultures from around the world, but it also delivers on the Arts Council’s promise to “support individual creativity, cultural preservation, economic development and lifelong learning through the ARTS.
Founded nearly 50 years ago, the Arts Council serves the citizens of Cumberland County by working with various cultural organizations to spotlight artists and arts education in support of the thriving arts and culture district. downtown Fayetteville entertainment.
Arts Council affiliate We Are the Arts strives to create spaces that allow the community to interact with an impressive roster of artists in and around Fayetteville. In addition to events like the International Folk Festival, We Are the Arts organizes exhibitions for the public, commissions public art exhibitions to add character to the city, and organizes events like the upcoming BlackLit book fair.
It is important work and a vital service to the community.
The soul of a community or that of a nation — what it has been through, what it values and what it aspires to is often in the art it produces. The desire to create music, dance and the symbolic representation of its history is a desire shared by all societies in the world. Thomas Kinkade, the famous 20th century “painter of light”, once said: “Art transcends all cultural boundaries.
Events like the International Folk Festival suggest he is quite right.
For more information about the festival, visit www.wearethearts.com.