franklin folk festival north carolina

15th Annual Franklin Area Folk Festival
"A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage" in Franklin, NC
Saturday, August 17, 2019 • Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center

The 15th Annual Franklin Area Folk Festival, “A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage” will be held from 10 am to 4 pm at Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center. Nestled in Cowee West’s Mill Historic District at 51 Cowee School Drive in Franklin, NC, the Center is a unique showcase for demonstrating the everyday skills, crafts and music of our ancestors. And it is a FREE event!

What can you expect?

Celebrating all things Appalachian, this family-friendly festival features live heritage demonstrations, Appalachian crafts, SEBA (SouthEastern Bluegrass Association) jammin’ sessions that feature old-time mountain music and bluegrass, Civil War Re-enactors/Camp, kids’ activities, food, textiles& more! Artisans inside Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center will exhibit Macon County’s rich heritage by teaching us about pottery, textiles, painting, and local history. By linking our future to our past, the Franklin Area Folk Festival sponsors hands-on activities to allow visitors to experience what mountain life was like way back when. These folks learned at their parents’ knee woodcarving, moonshinin’, weaving and spinning, and all the many other heritage skills they’ll be demonstrating.

Some additional highlights include special quilts on display (like the famous Cabarras Quilt, The Celebrate America Autograph Quilt, the original World’s Largest Quilt), the village blacksmith, flint napping, woodworking/woodcarving, Border Collies’ demonstrations, old-time music and more. Performances of mountain music, gospel and bluegrass tunes exemplify a very important cultural heritage of the Appalachian region. In addition to performance stages inside and outside, we are partnering with SEBA and the Old Time Music group to provide jammin’ sessions. Festival-goers are encouraged to bring their instruments and join in! Once known as the Quilting Capital of the World, displays from the Smoky Mountain Quilter’s Guild including kids’ make-it/take-it project and the Cowee Quilters will help showcase this important heritage. Also, Grandpa’s Woodshop will feature wooden toys with Mike Holden and
bluebird houses with Paul Chew.

New this year, we’ve added a local author’s corner, J. Creek Cloggers, expanded music opportunities at Rickman Store to include gospel sing-a-longs and jammin’ fun and performances at Cowee School by Macon County Featured Musicians and Mountain Youth. Again this year, free transportation will be provided from the big field adjacent to the Lazy Hiker and Wells Fargo Bank (drive-thru site) or if you prefer to make the scenic drive out to the Cowee Valley, free limited parking will be designated offsite with a shuttle to drop you off right at the front door of Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center. (With bridge construction and road closures near the school, we recommend taking advantage of the free shuttle from the downtown Franklin area).

To kickoff the heritage weekend, we are collaborating with Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts to cross-promote their Friday concert: Four-time Grammy award winner David Holt and acoustic music star Josh Goforth, a Two-Man Tornado of Hot Picking and Cool Tunes. Ticket information is available at

Come learn about the culture and folkways of our Southern Appalachian Mountains by engaging in one of the many living history experiences, a trademark of the Franklin Area Folk Festival, “A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage.”

This FREE event is co-sponsored annually by the Folk Heritage Association of Macon County and the Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center with support from Cowee Community Development Organization, Rickman’s Store, The Scottish Tartan Museum, Macon County Historical Museum, Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce, Blue Ridge Heritage Music Trail/SEBA and others. The festival is made possible by a grant from the Franklin/Nantahala Tourism Development Committee, the Tourism Development Authority of the Town of Franklin and the Macon County Arts Council along with funding from local businesses and individuals.

For more information call (828) 524-6564.


If you’ve been in the Franklin area during the last few months, you have probably been a victim to at least one of many road improvement woes. In planning for this year’s Franklin Area Folk Festival being held on August 17, 2019 at Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center located at 51 Cowee School Drive, Franklin, we wanted to let you know about optional possibilities for transport and parking that may make the scenic drive to the historic West Mill’s valley less troublesome.

If you would prefer, take our FREE Shuttle Service to Cowee School beginning at 9:30 am. Shuttles and Free Parking in downtown Franklin will be located at 17 West Palmer Street (vacant lot adjacent to Appalachian Ace Hardware/below the Lazy Hiker Brewery on the corner of West Palmer and Porter Streets). Shuttles will run every 30 minutes with the last shuttle leaving downtown for the festival at 3 pm.

For those wishing to drive out to Cowee School, please park at Cowee Baptist Church (located at 6301 Bryson City Road right before you get to the school) and take a shuttle down to the school. Handicapped Parking will only be at this location as the bus can pick you up at the tent in the parking lot and drive you to the front of the school.

Due to bridge construction on the Snow Hill Road area near the school, it is important to follow detour signs as the lot at Snow Hill UMC will not be used for public parking this year. Please be aware of increased traffic being rerouted in front of the school - therefore awareness should be increased to watch for pedestrians who might be walking on the edge of the road.

It will be worth your efforts in getting to this year’s 15th Annual Franklin Area Folk Festival, “A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage”. Come learn more about the many living history experiences, a trademark of the Franklin Area Folk Festival, “A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage.”


Western NC is known for its beautiful mountain landscapes, bold streams and verdant valleys. Did you also know that many talented authors call this area home? For the first time, at this year’s Franklin Area Folk Festival being held on August 17 from 10 - 4 at Cowee Arts & Heritage Center, we will be spotlighting several of these accomplished writers in our “Local Author’s Corner”. Located in the Library Room inside the school, authors have been given a presentation time where you might stop by and listen as they share their story ideas, make book purchases and get personalized autographs. Additionally, books will be available for purchase all day by the Macon County Historical Museum.

Below is the schedule for the “Local Author’s Corner” presentations. Stop in and hear what these interesting authors have to share.

10:00 am - MATTHEW BAKER
11:00 am - BRENT MARTIN
11:30 am - GREGG CLARK
12:30 pm - BARBARA McRAE
1:00 pm - JIM SHOPE

Also, Barbara Woodall will be participating in the event and will have her books available for purchase.

Come get a flavor of our heritage, culture, and folklore as you meet and greet local authors and spend the day engaging in the many living history demonstrations at the festival. Should you have any questions with regard to this information or festival day in general, contact Tina Bottomley (828) 421-2106, (leave a message, please) or Anne Hyder (828) 524-6564.


david holt josh goforth concert franklin nc smoky mountain center performing arts

Don't miss David Holt & Josh Goforth in concert at the Smoky Mountain Center for the performing arts in Franklin. Friday, August 16th. Information coming soon at

  • 2019 Program Book » More Information (PDF)

  • Heritage Demonstrations/Exhibits
    See Appalachian Artisans in action as they offer living demonstrations of their craft passed down from generation to generation.» More Information

  • Civil War Re-enactors
    Re-enactors demonstrate life from the Civil War era including live artillery fire and skirmishes.
  • Live Heritage Entertainment
    Hear the sound of authentic Appalachian music throughout the day at the Main Stage and jammin' sessions. » Learn More

  • Quilt Show & Indoor Exhibits
    See a Special Exhibit of the Cabarrus Quilt, Celebrate America Autograph Quilt, and more including the Smoky Mtn. Quilters Guild and Cowee Quilters.

  • Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Jam Sessions
    Hear local talent or play along, so be sure to bring an instrument if you play. Hosted by the Macon County Chapter of the Southeastern Bluegrass Association (SEBA) and others. » Learn More

  • Children’s Heritage Activities
    100 Years ago there were no XBoxes. Your young ones can participate in free heritage activities and learn how kids of yesteryear passed the time.

  • Among the activities ... help your child make an Appalachian folk crafts with asssitance. Projects include: Wooden Crafts, Blacksmithing, Quilting, and more! (Donations welcome.)
    » Learn More


franklin area folk festival free shuttle rides


© 2019 Folk Heritage Association of Macon County
PO Box 1416 • Franklin, NC • 28744 • Design by Tony Angel Media