Hickory – Folkmoot Festival 2016 returns to Hickory on July 24 for a sixth consecutive year. The 33rd edition of North Carolina’s Official International Folk Festival begins July 21 and runs through July 31, with parades, cultural events, festivals, and glorious, dramatic, and colorful dance performances at venues all over Western North Carolina.

Dance troupes invited for 2016 represent the cultures of China, the Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Ghana, Japan, Peru, Poland, Romania, and a special U.S-Mexico collaboration. The 2016 Festival will also include performances by the Eastern Band of Cherokee and other local Appalachian groups.

The Hickory International Council (HIC), in association with Hickory’s TSH Charitable Trust, will present Hickory’s version of Folkmoot USA on Sunday, July 24, at 3 p.m. at the Drendel Auditorium on the SALT Block. Groups from US/Mexico, Peru, China, and Japan 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 five 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 $10 for adults and seniors (13 and older) and $5 for children (12 and younger). However, the children buying tickets will get their money back when they attend the event and show their ticket at the door.

These prices are currently available at the following ticket outlets:

•    https://www.showclix.com/events/22294. Select the July 24, 3PM show.

•    http://www.hickoryinternationalcouncil.com/folkmoot-usa/

•    Taste Full Beans: 29 Second St., NW (828-325-0108)

•    United Arts Council of Catawba County, 243 Third St., NE (828-324-4906)

•    Hickory International Council (828-326-0256)

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.  For more information, go to http://hickoryinternationalcouncil.com.

Photo: Spanish Dancers from Folkmoot