International Folk Festival will be held at Festival Park this weekend despite Florence

September 28, 2018

Hundreds of people may descend on Fayetteville for the annual festival but there are questions over if and how Florence will affect the turnout.

The International Folk Festival kicked off Friday in Fayetteville after crews worked to clear Festival Park, parts of which had been under water after Hurricane Florence.

The Festival Park bridge that goes over Cross Creek was flooded, with waters reaching the base of the bridge. And a good portion of downtown Fayetteville near the creek was also flooded.

It took days for the water to recede.

Now, the tents are going up and final preparations for the 40th Annual International Folk Festival are well underway. The tents will be home to international cuisine prepared by mom and pop operations. There will also be craft makers selling cultural items such as Japanese paper decorations.

The event is sponsored by The Art’s Council of Fayetteville and WRAL-TV is also a proud sponsor of the event. The festival runs through Sunday, and participants will be able to meet some WRAL News anchors and reporters, including Renee Chou, who will be at the WRAL tent, starting at noon, and reporter Gilbert Baez will be there from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Organizers say if Hurricane Florence would have hit five days later, it may have washed out this year’s event.

“I″m not sure we could have pulled it off,” said Bob Pinson, the Arts Council Operations director. “Even with the extra hours people have put in to try and make the festival work this weekend . . . I’m not sure that would have been possible. It would have been tough.”

One of the highlights of the festival is the Parade of Nations.

This year, the parade features nearly 1,500 marchers representing more than 30 different countries.

The Parade of Nations begins Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on Hay Street and makes its way to Ray Avenue before winding up at Festival Park.

The event is a celebration of this community’s diversity, and a lot of it compliments the soldiers and their families who come to this area from all over the world.

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