franklin folk festival north carolina

17th Annual Franklin Area Folk Festival
"A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage" in Franklin, NC
Saturday, August 19, 2023 • Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center

The 17th Annual Franklin Area Folk Festival, “A Celebration of Appalachian Heritage” will be held on Saturday, August 19, 2023 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, jammin’ sessions that feature old-time mountain music and bluegrass, 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 years ago. 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, etc.), woodworking and woodcarving, Border Collies’ demonstrations, old-time music and more. Performances of mountain music, gospel and bluegrass tunes by various groups will exemplify a very important cultural heritage of the Appalachian region and are sure to be crowd pleasers. In addition to the performance stage inside, the outside stage and adjacent Jammin’ Tent will be hosted by The Carolina Thunder Mugs as they provide live music reminiscent of the early days when these mountains were settled. 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 will help showcase this important heritage. Also, there will be vendors selling Appalachian crafts in addition to demonstrators with their goods available for purchase.

New this year – the Heritage Village will come alive with a “campsite” on the field where the Southeastern Civilian Living Historians will share their stories and skills. Returning as in previous years, the Civil War Encampment will help educate us all about the life of a soldier.

Free parking will be designated offsite with a shuttle to drop you off right at the front door of Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center.

Kids Activities begin at 10:00 am

Beginning at 10:00 am at the Kids’ Activity Tent located mid-field, kids of all ages are encouraged to play old-fashioned lawn games such as egg races, sack races, and tug-o-war. At designated times under the tent, kids can try their hand at various heritage skills like milking the “cow”, corn shellin’ and making heritage crafts. Plus, additional kid focused activities will be scattered around the grounds with lots of opportunities for hands-on interaction. Plans include: the Smoky Mtn. Quilter’s Guild Make-it/Take-it sewing item, Border Collie demonstrations, homemade craft projects, exhibits of traditional toys, close encounters with friendly goats, pottery projects in the pottery room, weaving in the hall by Cowee Textiles, clothes washing station and much more.

Kids young and old are sure to enjoy this fun filled, historic day as we embrace life as it was in the early days. 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.

For more information call (828) 369-4080.

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 the community, local area museums, Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce, Arts Council of Macon County and others. Traditionally, this festival is made possible by grants from the Franklin/Nantahala Tourism Development Committee, the Tourism Development Authority of the Town of Franklin along with funding from local businesses and individuals. For more information visit: or call (828) 369-4080.


Franklin Area Folk Festival North Carolina

Below you'll find resources that will help you know what to expect when you attend this year's Franklin Area Folk Festival.

  • 2022 Program Book » DOWNLOAD (PDF)

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

  • 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. » DOWNLOAD SCHEDULE

  • Quilt on Display & 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. » 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 Appalachian folk crafts they can take home!
    » Learn More


Franklin Area Folk Festival Parking


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PO Box 1416 • Franklin, NC • 28744 • Design by Tony Angel Media