The festive closing parade of the Third Annual World Folkfest was a fitting end to the world-class event that promoters said had its best year ever, despite some early funding problems.
Five hundred dancers and musicians from 16 countries paraded through Springville Saturday to close the event."It is the general consensus that this was our best folkfest yet," George Frandsen, the festival's general director, said. "We've had fewer problems and fewer complaints, and a higher quality of performances."
Although dancers pay for costumes, time away from their jobs and most of their travel expenses, it still takes about $150,000 in local money to fund the nine-day festival. Frandsen estimated the folkfest would fall $5,000 to $10,000 short of breaking even, "which is still a lot better than we did last year."
Brent Haymon, festival official, said crowds at the Springville performances were larger despite this year's lower advertising budget (the result of losing cash funding from Springville City). The city, however, did provide some services.
But accounting did not seem to bother the dancers in the parade. They waved to crowds, or serenaded Springville residents with lively folk music, or danced down Main Street. One group of French dancers galloped in paper mache horse costumes, confounding local children who tried to catch them to present flowers.
The event also featured a high school marching band and the Springville Museum of Art's reigning Art Queen and her attendants.
The only confusion of the day was suffered by one Chinese dancer, embarrassed he hadn't heard of America's Art Queen. He reported he was deeply honored to share her parade, just the same.