The 11th annual Franklin Folk Festival set for Saturday, July 19, in downtown Franklin, is a collaboration of the community coming together to help keep alive the heritage of Macon County through demonstration, education and preservation.
Heritage demonstrators will be scattered throughout the grounds along with Appalachian arts and crafts; old cars at the antique car show, textile exhibits and quilts on display inside Tartan Hall or church history exhibits/school exhibits and antiques located inside the Fellowship Hall of the First Baptist Church.
Many downtown businesses and museums will also have special Appalachian displays inside.
Farm animals, vintage displays/exhibits as well as antique fire trucks/equipment are always favorites. Local fire departments will participate in a fire engine pull competition begining at 10:30 a.m., with a Bucket Brigade Challenge at noon. Team entry fees apply.
Main Street will be closed to traffic on the day of the festival from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Phillips Street and Iotla Street will be closed on Friday, July 18, at 6 p.m.
One section of demonstrators that has grown in recent years is Local Foods—Growing Our Own—Then and Now.
The Local Foods area will include returning favorites like Fred Bulgin and Bob Wells making hominy, Larry Stout's sorghum cane mill, Peggy Huscusson's display of ginseng, and the Macon County Beekeepers' Association with Paul Farley's display of a cross-section of a beehive, honey samples, and coloring books.
The Poultry Club of Macon County will be back with a larger display of heritage breed chickens including bantams of several breeds to the large Black Java, and information for starting your own backyard flock. The Carringer family will demonstrate sourdough bread-making along with their produce, eggs, baked goods and preserves and will share information about their farm and greenhouse production.
Demonstrating canning and dehydrating will be Cecilia Burress located next to her husband, David with their blacksmith forge. New this year will be Elaine Reece Morris with a display about fresh milk and butter-churning, plus Ron Cabe with a display and information about growing mushrooms on logs.
The Franklin Folk Festival focuses on heritage games and activities providing kid-friendly events. Attendees are invited to pick up a children’s brochure that will list the many offerings identified by a yellow smiley face in a heritage hat. Games, make-it-and-take-it activities, mining and new this year, and a water feature at 2:30 p.m. are just a few of the fun things planned just for kids. After checking off at least eight of the activities listed, the leaflet can be returned to the information tent near children’s games behind Town Hall for a special reward.
Residents and visitors alike will have an opportunity to step back in time as they listen to favorite old-time mountain, bluegrass and gospel music performed at different venues throughout the day: Gazebo Main Stage on Main Street; Church in the Wildwood inside First Baptist Church Chapel off Iotla Street; Mtn. Meeting Place Stage, in the lower parking lot of Town Hall on Main Street near the Antique car Show; and the Jammin’ Tent in front of Town Hall on Main Street with expanded Bluegrass Jam Session areas.
The Jammin’ Tent will be open all day and hosts John Leigh and Tim Lynch will get it started at 9:30 a.m. Don’t forget to bring your instruments and pull up a chair so you can join in. Bluegrass Jam Sessions will be held at several locations throughout the day: Life’s Bounty, Paradise Music Store, Outdoor 76, Rathskeller Coffee Haus and Macon Bank parking lot. Musicians are welcome to play at their initial locations, or they may move from one location to the next as the day continues. The Franklin Folk Festival is part of The Blue Ridge Music Trail.
Here is a rundown of the entertainment: