For 49 years, thousands of locals and tourists alike have gathered on the fourth Saturday of October at Ferrum College to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of the region. This year marks the 50th annual Folklife Festival, produced by the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum (BRIM) of Ferrum College.
The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival highlights just how deeply rooted creativity, entrepreneurship, and economic development are to Franklin County. Each year, local artisans, musicians, moonshiners, craftspeople, cooks, dog racers, mule jumpers, and more come together to celebrate their resourceful way of life. The largest event of its kind in the state, visitors have a chance to experience the vibrancy of life here and understand a little more deeply what makes Franklin County a natural setting for opportunity.
This festival isn’t just a recreation of the past. These folk traditions may be venerable, but they’re still alive, well, and practiced by the people who call the area home. When you attend, you’ll experience the ingenuity and entrepreneurship that’s baked into the culture here. Witness a variety of demonstrations that have been perfected over generations, listen to music native to Virginia’s Crooked Road performed by resident musicians, purchase handcrafted pieces made by local professional artisans, and more.
“For the past 50 years the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival and the Blue Ridge Institute has positioned itself as the premiere source of history and heritage in our region. The festival has become a yearly pilgrimage for those interested in heritage music, crafts, food, and traditional Blue Ridge activities set within the picturesque backdrop of fall in Ferrum. Attendees, both young and old, can make new memories, learn new skills, and experience life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia’s Appalachia,” said Franklin County Director of Marketing and Tourism Kevin Tosh.
Nestled amongst all the activities of the Folklife Festival is a step back in time at the living history farm museum. This 1800 Virginia-German farmstead operates exactly as would have over 220 years ago, giving you the chance to immerse yourself in what it took to carve out a living in Blue Ridge backcountry at the turn of the 19th century.
Hailed as “thoroughly authentic” by the New York Times, the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival was awarded first place in Blue Ridge Country‘s Top Ten Fall Festivals Readers Poll for 2022, as well as a top three finalist of Virginia Living’s Best of Virginia: Southwest Virginia Festival awards.
The festival takes place October 28, from 10am-5pm. Tickets are $10 in advance at $15 at the door. Proceeds from the festival help to fund BRIM and all of its programs. Purchasing from the Folklife Festival vendors supports small business and helps keep a local, deep-rooted economy thriving.