The 80th National Folk Festival brought art and community to Downtown Salisbury.
Fast paced drums, twirling skirts, fiery fiddles and live art exhibits were just a few sights that greeted Salisbury locals and visitors during the three day run of the 80th National Folk Festival, in Downtown Salisbury of last weekend.
Nearly every art form is represented from needlework, to traditional dance, to blacksmithing, to traditional music and more.
Given the turnout of the event on Saturday the 11th, the City of Salisbury announced on their Instagram feed that the festival had signed on to return for a 4th year in 2022.
Though the 2021 Folk Festival decreased in size from previous years due to the uncertainty brought by the Delta variant, the festival still drew in a crowd of both locals and visitors alike. Many patrons experienced live music for the first time in over a year and vendors were able to chat with residents of Salisbury in person.
Rachelle Daijeanult has been an active volunteer in the Salisbury community for years, having donated her time to both the Discovery Museum, and The Assateague Island facebook page. This was her first year volunteering at the Folk Festival and she decided to volunteer because she loves the event and without volunteers it wouldn’t be possible.
“[I think] my favorite part of volunteering at the festival this year is getting to talk to everyone,” Daijeanult said. “I’ve met people from all over the country and they tell me they hope the event will come to their state.”
Darrell Meade, owner of ASAP screen printing of Delaware, volunteered his time this weekend to run the merchandise booth.
The festival contacted Meade to be its supplier of t-shirts, stickers and more. This was also Meade’s first time at the Folk Festival.
“I haven’t really had time to watch the shows or explore, but [on saturday] we were able to sneak away from the tent for a while to watch Spencer Taylor & The Highway, and they were awesome,” Meade said.
The Folk Festival also featured pop up shops from Salisbury area artists, vendors and their families. Gabrielle Bucy-Laperle, her mother and the family dog Freya attended the event on Sunday to support her father as he painted and sold his paintings on main street.
“This is my second day here and I haven’t really had time to see the shows, but I think the candle making shop is super cool,” Bucy-Laperle said.
Allsion Shelton, founder of Bathing Bee and owner of The Hive on Main, has attended the Folk Festival for all three years the city has hosted it.
“I wrote the business plan for ‘The Hive on Main’ when I was 17,” Shelton said. “This is a 25 year process in the making. I really wanted to create a space where vendors of quality can come together and make a profit off their wares” Shelton said.
Allsion Shelton called up her fellow vendors to make the courtyard into an arts style plaza full of jewelry, candles, quilts and more. Shelton has watched her business grow, and she’s seen the impact on other local businesses due to the Folk Festival traffic.
The 80th National Folk Festival came to a close Sunday evening, but the future seems bright for the arts in Salisbury, Maryland.
By GILLIAN VAN DITTA
Featured photos by Gillian Van Ditta