HICKORY — Folkmoot Festival 2019 returns to Hickory in July for a ninth consecutive year.

The 36th edition of North Carolina’s Official International Folk Festival begins July 19 and runs through July 28, with parades, cultural events, festivals within the festival, and glorious, dramatic, and colorful dance performances at venues all over western North Carolina. Dance troupes invited for 2019 represent the cultures of The Bahamas, Egypt, Hungary, and Romania. The 2019 festival will also include performances by the Eastern Band of Cherokee and other local Appalachian groups.

The Hickory International Council in association with Hickory’s TSH Charitable Trust will present Hickory’s version of Folkmoot USA on Sunday, July 21, at 2 p.m. at the Drendel Auditorium on the SALT Block. Groups from The Bahamas, Romania, Hungary, and Egypt will be performing.

The first Folkmoot festival was held in 1984. The name Folkmoot, an Old English word meaning “meeting of the people,” was borrowed from a folk festival that was once held in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Folkmoot USA attracts more than 100,000 visitors to western North Carolina. In keeping with festival policy, an entirely new program of performers is offered each year.

“When the HIC investigated Folkmoot eight years ago, both organizations immediately saw the relevance of such an event to our area, on one hand because we have our own International Festival, and on the other hand because Folkmoot saw an opportunity to expand its footprint farther east,” said Hani Nassar, chairman of the Hickory International Council. “The HIC values this type of event because Folkmoot supports the Hickory International Council’s mission of increasing the cultural understanding among our citizens. The more we are open-minded of other cultures, especially at these difficult times, the more we can first tolerate, then accept, then support these cultures.”

Discounted ticket prices are adults $10 but free for children (12 and younger).

The Hickory International Council’s mission is to act as a forum for the local and global international community and as liaison between that community and the city government to promote goodwill, mutual understanding, cooperation, and respect among citizens.

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