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World Folkfest celebrates 30 years of folk dance

Jul 19, 2016 07:16PM

The World Folkfest in Springville, Utah, invites the public to join its 30th celebration of world cultures, music and dance when visitors from around the globe present five evening performances July 26-30, 2016.

Folk dancers and musicians from Bolivia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Korea, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Poland and the Republic of Georgia are expected to participate in the 2016 World Folkfest. They will be joined by the Rocky Mountain Express clogging team and the Native American performing group Morning Star, who will both represent the United States, and Pacific Generation, who will represent the island cultures of the Pacific Ocean on the final night.

This year is the 30th anniversary of the Folkfest, which has grown to become one of the most prominent festivals of folk dance and music in the United States. In the tradition of popular European folk dance festivals, the World Folkfest annually attracts talented folk dance troupes from around the world to Springville where they showcase their cultures through the exciting and vibrant mediums of folk dance and music.

The groups perform their dances in beautifully crafted and authentic costumes of their homeland. Musicians travel with the dancers to Springville to accompany the dances on unique, traditional folk instruments. The performers pay their own expenses to travel to the Folkfest, emphasizing their eagerness to share their cultures with the people of Utah. While here, the performers stay with volunteer host families in the Utah County area.

“After 30 years I am still impressed at the variety and excitement these international groups bring to Springville. It is a wonderful chance to see and feel international culture at its best,” said Lynn Elliott, chairman of the World Folkfest Board of Directors.

Folkfest performances will be presented beginning Tuesday, July 26, and continuing each night through Saturday, July 30. Performances will at 7:30 p.m. at the Spring Acres Arts Park outdoor amphitheater, 620 S. 1350 East, Springville, Utah (next to Springville High School). The Arts Park will open each night at 6 p.m. with a variety of food and craft booths available to audience members before the show each night. Pre-show entertainment will begin at 6:45 p.m. Seating is general admission; some seating is available at the Arts Park, but audience members can also bring their own lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.

All groups attending this year’s Folkfest will perform during each evening performance, giving audiences the opportunity to experience cultures from around the world in just one night.

Admission is $10 for adults; $8 for students, military members and senior citizens; $5 for children ages 3 to 12; and free for children under 3. Groups of 10 or more may purchase tickets for $6 each. A family pass (up to two adults and four children) is available for $30. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the gate with a credit card or cash on the night of the performance.

For those who don’t want to miss a minute of this year’s Folkfest, World Passport passes are available for $30 per person. This pass will allow the bearer to attend every performance during Folkfest week. Many groups do different dances on each night of the Folkfest and bring a variety of costumes, making each evening performance unique. Audience members are guaranteed to see something different and new every night.

Because Monday, July 25, is a state holiday, the Folkfest Street Dance traditionally held on the Monday of Folkfest week will not be held this year. Instead, the Folkfest dancers and musicians will appear in the Spanish Fork Fiesta Days Grand Parade, which will begin at 9 a.m. on July 25 and travel down Spanish Fork’s Center and Main Streets.

Also, the public is invited to attend free after-party dances on the festival stage on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, July 27, 28 and 29, after the evening performances.

Host families are currently being sought to house from two to four dancers during the week of the Folkfest. Host families are asked to provide room, board and transportation to Folkfest events for their international visitors. This is a wonderful opportunity for families to experience first-hand another culture and to share the culture of the USA with their guests. For information on becoming a host family or to sign up, contact Folkfest Housing Coordinator Elissa Caron Johnson at 801-787-6530.