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National Folk Festival takes over Greensboro

Posted September 10, 2015
Updated September 11, 2015

The National Folk Festival, billed as one of the United States' largest, most prestigious, and longest-running celebrations of arts, culture, and heritage, is taking over Greensboro starting Friday.

For three days, the city's streets will feature all manner of traditional musicians, dancers, craftspeople, demonstrations, food, parades and more, along with a hearty selection of activities for kids and families.

The festival is free. There's no admission charge here. And it's really not all that far from the Triangle. Greensboro is less than 90 minutes from Raleigh.

The line-up for the festival's family area on Church Street looks especially impressive. It includes a lesson with harmonica legend Phil Wiggins (and free harmonicas to the first 100 kids!) and centuries-old dances like the Bear Dance and Friendship Dance from Cherokee warriors in traditional regalia.

On stage, you'll find stories, puppets and lots of music and dance.

Master puppeteers Yuqin Wang and Zhengli Xu will bring their lifelike, two-to-three-foot-tall Chinese rod puppets to star in dramatic, acrobatic stagings of folktales, legends, and opera. Master storyteller Lloyd Arneach, a tradition-bearer of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, will share traditional stories. And circus “street” performer Derek McAlister will offer up clowning, mime, dance, juggling, Chinese pole acrobatics and some humor.

Kids also will be able to take part in some make-and-take activities and 18th century games. Crafts include storybook making, woodland house construction and seed bomb making. Community art projects include a big Mud Paint Mural, a giant coloring book and a "smoothie bike" that whips up smoothies with bike-pedal power.

The festival will return to Greensboro in 2016 and 2017.

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