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Opinion Letters Folk Festival reports record participation

On behalf of the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County/Franklin Folk Festival Committee, we would like to thank the many groups, businesses, sponsors and individuals that came together to help us put on the 9th Annual Franklin Folk Festival held downtown on July 21, 2012. This year’s festival boasted record attendance with even more activities as we partnered with the Franklin Fire Department to celebrate their 100th anniversary as part of the festival. Most importantly, without the involvement of our “demonstrators” showing trades and a way of life from the turn of the century, our festival would cease to exist.

In 2011, 520 people donated 6,345.50 hours to make the festival happen and after this year’s final results are tallied, we expect even more. This volunteer-led festival orchestrated by the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County (often mislabeled as one of the town’s festivals) is held each year to help meet the mission of our non-profit organization:

To provide living history experiences and to preserve the folk heritage of Macon County for generations to come. With an estimated attendance of 5,000 people, we have successfully met this goal. Early summaries taken from random surveys of 1,096 participants show 21 states represented with 43 N.C. cities logged from across the state (based on zip code analysis). This unique “demonstrations” festival helps bring locals and visitors alike into the downtown area as well as provide an economic boost to Macon County.

A special thank you to our sponsors (Macon County TDC, Franklin Main Street Program, Franklin TDA, and the Macon County Community Foundation) for grant funding. In addition, we appreciate the support from the Town of Franklin/Macon County officials as well as the Franklin Police Department. Also, private donations from individuals and businesses as well as income from the John Sill fundraiser and vendor booth fees provided much needed funds. Collaborating with groups such as the Franklin Chamber of Commerce, Arts Council of Macon County, Smoky Mountain Performing Arts Center, Franklin Fire Department, downtown businesses/museums and others enabled us to truly have a heritage weekend event.

A huge thank you to all that attended the festival and to all those not listed above who took part and volunteered. As co-chairs of this year’s festival, we want to say that the FHAMC Board and Festival Planning Committees that worked hard all year to put on the Franklin Folk Festival, are to be commended for giving so much of their time and resources with no personal gain - just satisfaction in knowing we are making a difference in the fight to preserve our heritage.

We really appreciate our community pulling together once again to offer local residents as well as visitors the opportunity to travel back in time to observe first-hand the culture and heritage of Macon County. Visit our website www.franklinfolkfestival.com for more information.

Theresa Ramsey & Anne Hyder,
Franklin Folk Festival Co-Chairs


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