folkmoot3Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

Folkmoot USA, The State International Festival of North Carolina, is a two-week celebration of the world’s cultural heritage through folk music and dance. The celebration will be landing in Franklin on Thursday, July 28, with the help of a $2,500 grant from the Franklin Tourism Development Authority.

Held each summer across the mountains of Western North Carolina, Folkmoot features performers demonstrating cultural heritage through colorful, authentic, and original reproduction costumes, lively dance, and traditional music. Franklin Mayor Bob Scott has been speaking with event organizer Angeline Schwab to ensure that Franklin becomes a destination on the Folkmoot event calendar.

This year, with the help of $2,500 from the Franklin TDA, Folkmoot will participate in a parade up Main Street, a performance on the Gazebo downtown and a show at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts.

The TDA grant for the event was unanimously approved Monday night and based on Schwab’s application, will be used to cover the cost of advertising the event in local newspapers as well as promoting the week long celebration in the region.

Funding request for Outdoor 76’s 2nd annual Naturalist 25k and 50k trail race

Cory McCall and Rob Gasbarro, co-owners of Outdoor 76 presented a grant request in the amount of $2,500 to the TDA Monday night, asking for funds to host the second annual Naturalist Trail race. Last year’s event, despite less than ideal weather, drew more than 600 people to Main Street for the race and Fall Celebration.

The race itself included 55 runners, both local and from across the country. A permit from the National Forest Service allows the event 100 runners and to date, the event has already registered 30 runners for the Oct. 8 event.

“Community events have been part of our business plan since we first opened our shop here in Franklin and this race, and the Fall Celebration is a great way to do that,” said McCall.

According to McCall, last year’s event included some unexpected expenses that came out of the bad weather, but despite that, they have received positive feedback from both locals and visitors.

“We had people from Franklin come out to enjoy the music we had throughout the day and that night, and we have heard from people who travelled to Franklin about how much they loved it and wanted to come back to visit,” said McCall. “So not only was it a great community event it definitely meets the TDA’s goal of attracting people to town.”

The Naturalist Trail race is an event that starts on Main Street in Franklin and runs the course of the Bartram Trail. Runners who finish at the top of the trail complete the 25K with an option to turn around and run back to Franklin to complete the 50K. The inaugural event drew runners from eight different states with 24 percent of participants staying at least two nights in local hotels.

According to McCall, the people who have already registered and who have called to find out more about the event hail from all over the country.

“And just about everyone who ran the race who came from out of town brought their families with them,” said McCall. “So while the runner competed, their families stayed in local hotels and shopped at local businesses.”

In addiction to the race, which will be held Saturday morning, Outdoor 76’s Fall Celebration will include live music from three different bands, partnerships with different local breweries, and more.

Outdoor 76 requests $2,500 from the Franklin TDA, with a projected $2,300 cost in print media advertising for the event and $150 to focus on Facebook advertising, something McCall says has worked really well for the event as well as Outdoor 76 as a brand.

The TDA will vote on the request made by McCall and Gasbarro during the August meeting.