National Folk Festival adds high-powered backers

Adding to the excitement of next year’s Salisbury’s National Folk Festival in Salisbury, Gov. Larry Hogan and his wife, Yumi, and prominent local businessman Jim Perdue and his wife, Jan, have been named honorary chairmen and chairwomen.

“We are so grateful for Gov. Hogan and his cabinet and staff,” a pleased Mayor Jake Day told the Salisbury Independent.

“They have already made the success of this event a surety. Mr. Perdue is the best known ambassador for the Eastern Shore and Delmarva. Mrs. Hogan and Mrs. Perdue are not only philanthropic and civic leaders in our state and region, but they are leaders in the arts in Maryland and the Eastern Shore.

“Combined, these four leaders represent a dynamic team that will help direct and develop the largest traditional arts and music festival in America while in its new home, Salisbury, Maryland,” Day said.

When he made the announcement on behalf of the National Council for the Traditional Arts, Day called it “an honor and a privilege.”

“It is so perfectly appropriate that the governor and first lady have graciously agreed to co-chair.  And I can think of no one better to represent the Eastern Shore than the Perdue family,” Day said.

The Festival will be in Salisbury Sept. 7, 8 and 9 next year.

Free to the public, the event, known as a “moveable feast of deeply traditional folk arts, will feature music, dance and cultural traditions from across the country,” will feature six stages.

There will be continuous music, a dance pavilion, traditional crafts, regional food, storytelling, parades and folklife demonstrations.

“The support and enthusiasm with which the state of Maryland, the city and the entire region have embraced the National Folk Festival is just incredible. We look forward to a smashing three-year run in Salisbury,” Julia Olin, Executive Director of the NCTA, said.

Since it was first presented in St. Louis in 1934, the National Folk Festival has celebrated the “roots, richness and variety of American culture,” she said.

Championed in its early years by Eleanor Roosevelt, it was the first event of national stature to present the arts of many nations, races, and languages.

It was also the first to present musical forms including blues, Cajun music, a polka band, Tex-Mex conjunto and Peking opera.

Salisbury was among 34 cities in the United States that competed to host the Festival, which draws more than 150,000 people and boosts the economy $30 million each year.

In February, representatives of the NCTA visited Salisbury to evaluate the city and determine its suitability.

“We were so impressed with the dynamic energy evident in Salisbury, a collective will that is propelling the community in exciting new directions,” said Olin said.

“Clearly, if you want to be where the real action is – and we do – it is in a city like Salisbury with a creative, holistic vision for its future,” she said.

“We look forward to a great partnership and successful festivals that celebrate the richness and variety of American culture writ large, and the vibrant regional culture of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, right here in the heart of the historic Delmarva Peninsula,” she said.


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