Arts council renames International Festival Day

By Jessi Stone | Apr 09, 2014
Photo by: File photo The Scottish Highland dancers from Winnipeg, Canada and J. Creek Cloggers from Appalachia do a workshop together during last year's International Festival Day. The event name will change this year to ArtFest.

After hosting International Festival Day during Folkmoot week for 30 years, the Haywood County Arts Council is changing the name this year to ArtFest.

International Festival Day has always been held on Main Street in Waynesville to feature performances from the international groups visiting. The event also features international food vendors, local performers, local artisans and children’s activities.

Libby Irwin, an arts council board member, said in an email that nothing was changing except for the name.

“In the past years most people have thought International Festival Day was part of Folkmoot, not put on by HCAC. The new name, ArtFest, is our ongoing effort to establish our identity,” she said. “ArtFest is not planning anything different for the festival.”

No mention of a change was made until the Arts Council sent out a recent press release putting a call out for artists and food vendors. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 19, along Main Street.

But when asked why the Arts Council was choosing to change the name of the event, which has been so closely linked to Folkmoot, Irwin said she couldn’t provide any other details at the moment. She did say she would pass on more information as it becomes available.

“The name, ArtFest, represents the Haywood County Arts Council who have been responsible and who have hosted this festival on Main Street for 30 years,” she wrote. “We are continuing our uniformity with ArtFest. We already have a new initiative introduced last year called ArtShare.”

Irwin said Folkmoot was informed in December that the arts council would like to continue the partnership for the event, but she didn’t know whether Folkmoot groups would be performing in the streets at this year’s event.

Karen Babcock, Folkmoot’s executive director, said the change would have little effect on Folkmoot. She said Folkmoot was still in the early stages of planning, but that she did anticipate having several international groups at the newly named ArtFest.

“When you try to rebrand something, people will always have questions and that’s the purpose because the event has been linked with Folkmoot for so long," she said.

During International Festival Day last year, Babcock said they did something new by having an international group hold a workshop with one of the local clogging groups on the street. It was such a success she looks forward to do that again at this year’s event.

Babcock said the arts council never had to pay to have the international groups perform at the festival.

“We’ve always applied for funding elsewhere to cover that day,” she said.

The Haywood County Arts Council has applied for an $8,100 grant from the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority to help fund ArtFest. The request included $2,500 for performing artists, $3,700 for advertising, $1,500 for portable bathrooms and hand-washing stations and $400 for security.

In the funding application, it states that an estimated 12,000 people would be attending the free event but there is no mention of a partnership with Folkmoot in the application. The TDA has not made a determination on grant requests yet.

Artist and food vendor applications for ArtFest are available in Gallery 86 at 86 Main St., Waynesville and at

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