Folk Festival off to a quick fundraising start

More than 50 people have already contributed to the National Folk Festival’s Legacy Society, by donating $1,000 each to help pay for the prestigious event, coming to Salisbury in less than six months.

The goal is for 300 people to join the Legacy Society, and donate $1,000 each, for a total of $300,000 toward the estimated cost of $1.3 million the first year of the festival. It will be in town three consecutive years.

Each donor will have a brick, engraved with his or her name, positioned in a permanent wall erected near the Riverwalk Amphitheater

Last June, Salisbury was named host of the festival, planned for Sept. 7, 8 and 9 and promising six stages with continuous music, a dance pavilion, traditional crafts, regional food, storytelling, parades and folklife demonstrations, all Downtown.

Free to the public, the festival draws more than 150,000 people and boosts the economy by millions of dollars.

The Legacy Society, introduced at the kick-off event for the festival at Salisbury University a few weeks ago, will allow donors to “have their names or their family’s names, in memory of or to honor, someone,” said Caroline O’Hare, festival manager.

“It’s leaving your mark and being part of the legacy of this festival, being there at the ground floor and being there for the first year,” O’Hare said.

To participate, see applications at

“We’ve had a great response already,” said Mike Dunn, a member of the fund-raising committee. Letters will be sent to individuals and businesses that also might be interested in donating, he said.

“When you are a member of The Legacy Society and you make a contribution this year, we hope you will also make a contribution in subsequent years. But, to get your name on the wall, you have to contribute this year,” Dunn said.

O’Hare called the wall “a testament to the people who want to be there right at the beginning so years and years from now, people can see it.”

When Salisbury was chosen to host the festival, Mayor Jake Day said the city has long been eager to step into the national spotlight.

“For a decade now, with 3rd Friday and events like the River City Arts Jam and the Shore Craft Beer Fest, we have thrown our arms wide and embraced the arts community in the heart of our city. With this announcement, the city of Salisbury redoubles its commitment to being the cultural heart and soul of Delmarva and—for the three years from 2018 to 2020—the entire country,” Day said.

Salisbury was among 34 cities nationwide that competed to host the traveling celebration of arts and culture, sponsored by the National Council for the Traditional Arts.

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