Thirty-fifth annual International Folkfest upcoming at Lebanon High School

Jacob Smith • May 31, 2017 at 1:21 PM

Lebanon High School will be the site of the International Folkfest on June 16.

It marks only the second time the event will take place in Lebanon.

The International Folkfest is a yearly event that invites performers from around the world to share their culture through dance and music.

The event will start at 7 p.m. in the Lebanon High School auditorium and costs $10 per person. The Lebanon High School agriculture and music departments will serve as sponsors. Tickets may be purchased at the door.

The International Folkloric Society Planning Council is the organization that will bring the festival to Lebanon. The IFS was founded in 1986 with the mission to promote and preserve international cultural heritage with a primary focus on the arts.

The Folkfest will feature performers from Canada, Lithuania, Mexico and the United States.

The group from the U.S. is a local group called the Cripple Creek Cloggers based in Murfreesboro. The 4-H founded the group in 1967 as a camp activity. The group was originally called the Rutherford County Square Dancers and comprised of only children.

The group expanded its age range in 1980 after realizing it was losing talent. The Rutherford County International Folkfest was first held in 1982.

The group was also featured on an episode of PBS’s Reading Rainbow in 1989.

Lithuania will bring 26 performers to the event; Canada will bring 15, and Mexico will bring 25. Each group will provide its own music, along with the dancers.

Doretha Wright attended last year’s event and is helping promote this year’s Folkfest.

“It’s a fabulous cultural event for the community,” Wright said. “You’re going to be amazed at the dancing. I was. I was not prepared for what I saw. You can’t believe their elaborate costumes and what they do.”

The performers dress in their traditional cultural outfits and play music native to their countries.

Patsy Tomason Brown is one of the dancers for the Cripple Creek Cloggers. She emphasized the importance of cultural interaction experienced at the International Folkfest.

“Especially in today’s society, it’s very important to get to know people from different cultures,” said Brown. “It’s so important that we meet people and get to know and understand their way of life.

The main event will be June 16 at Lebanon High School, but the various performers can also be seen at other places throughout the week for free.

Tuesday, June 13 Mexico’s performers will be at Linebaugh Public Library in Murfreesboro at 10 a.m. Canada will also perform at the same time at the Smyrna Senior Center.

Lithuania will be at the Smyrna Public Library June 15 at 10 a.m., and all the groups will perform June 17 at the Murfreesboro Courthouse Square from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs to the courthouse event.

“It’s a great way to learn about other nations and other people,” said Wright, “their native dress, their native cultures and their forms of dance and music. It’s a wonderful opportunity for entertainment on a Friday night, and at the same time, you’ll be benefiting local education.”

For more information, visit the Rutherford County International Folkfest website at mboro-international-folkfest.org. 

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