Emily Wilkinson, Director of World Folkfest International, came to Good Things Utah to talk about the festival and what to expect. This festival, which started in 1986, celebrates the dance styles of many nations. It is one of the largest festivals that celebrates international folk dance in the US and the largest in the western US. The festival runs from Jul. 27-Jul. 30 at Arts Park  in Springville and will feature over 200 international dancers who have traveled to the Beehive State to showcase their country’s rich culture and dance. Wilkinson said they are the only ones in the entire state of Utah that belong to the International Congress of Folk Festivals, which is part of the United Nations. This year will be the first time the festival will take place after a two year hiatus due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. “COVID truly shut down so many arts and so many festivals internationally and locally,” said Wilkinson. “Coming back from COVID has been a true act of passion. It’s been a lot of work to get groups here. And for the families of Utah to be able to see the diversity of the world and not only see but experience [and] to show their children how beautiful the world is and how similar we really are.” In addition to traditional dancers hailing from nearly every continent, World Folkfest will also have global cuisine, vendors, musicians, craftspeople and many more. Wilkinson said it was the “party of the world” localized in Utah County and a chance to see beautiful traditional customs of other cultures we may otherwise not have the chance to see. 

In addition to Wilkinson, GTU got a special treat and a sneak preview of two dances that will take place at the event. The first dance came from two dancers from Spain that hail from the Basque region. This traditional Basque dance has been around since the first century and is a welcome dance that is perfect for a festive and warm greeting. The dancers chose this dance to thank the people of Utah. The second dance originates from Indonesia that empowers and protects women. The two young women who came to dance donned traditional dance attire from West Java to perform the Bali dance.

Gates open at 6 p.m. To get 20% off your group tickets, go to WorldFolkFest.org and enter promo code: GoodThingsUtah22