Folk Festival brings culture to Greensboro


The 77th Annual National Folk Festival took place for the third year in Greensboro this past weekend. The three-day, outdoor event, which usually amasses over 175,000 spectators each year, included multicultural music, arts and crafts, food, storytelling, and even beatboxing.

According to their website, the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) chose to hold the festival in Greensboro again due to its “powerful community involvement and various components of unique culture.”

“To me, it’s [The Folk Festival] an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate art that has been passed down for generations,” said street performer, Nick Welch. “A lot of it is trade, which is like pottery, things that people make and music as well. I think what makes the festival cool is witnessing art being passed down from generation to generation.”

The National Folk Festival, which started in 1934 in St. Louis, MO, is the oldest, multi-cultural traditional arts celebration in the nation. The festival was the first of national standing to put the arts of different cultures in one event with equal representation and time.

The Folk Festival is known for its variety of musical artists that take the many stages around Downtown Greensboro during the weekend. The festival helps to provide a representation of every genre and culture that they can. Audiences are treated to a variety of sounds from bluegrass to beatboxing. Yet, the most inspiring moments of the festivals are those of the musical sounds of cultures from around the world. They not only provide ambiance to Greensboro but cultivated aesthetic as well.

“I think that this festival gives them [artists] an opportunity to express themselves and it helps people spread their art, which is really cool,” said street performer, Tyler Menon.

Visitors attend the festival from all over the country to experience a variety of heritages and customs. Still, the event that people look forward to during the Folk Festival the most is the various cultural dishes that vendors provide for the crowd.

The festival is dedicated to providing a variety of regional and ethnic foods as well as fan classics during their event. The hope is that attendees will walk-away with a better understanding of a cuisine from a different culture.

This year’s festival saw over 25 vendors from 15 different culture palettes selling their dishes. There were a variety of food trucks at the festival. Qspresso Cubanos was one that served Cuban food, such as empanadas, plantains, and even gluten and dairy free quesadillas. Chirba Chirba Dumpling Truck was another that provided spectators with a variety of chicken, pork and vegetable dumplings, as well as chicken fried rice.

According to the National Folk Festival’s website, each vendor is required to submit an application each year if they’d like to be a part of the “culinary journey around North Carolina, America, and the world.” After the restaurants are selected, each has a designated area within the seven location perimeter around the festival. This includes the Citystage, Davie Street, and the Dance Pavilion to name a few.

The Folk Festival moves to a different city around the country every few years. This year was the last year it would be held in Greensboro. Next year, the event will take place in Salisbury, MD and continue there until 2020.

Overall, people attend the National Folk Festival for a variety of personal reasons. Regardless if the purpose is for the food, the music, or the scenery, everyone can relate that Greensboro, as a whole, has benefited extremely from the event the past few years.

“It [Folk Festival] brings people together. You see all of the festivities and see individuals coming together; it promotes unity, as well as being kid-friendly. It’s amazing to see all different races come together. You get to enjoy some nice food. It’s a great event,” said festival spectator, Jacari Williams.

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