By David Loomis
INDIANA – For its preview of the sixth annual Northern Appalachian Folk Festival earlier this month, The Indiana Gazette went with a conflict angle in the headline: “Dueling folk festivals scheduled this weekend for downtown,” it read.
The “duel” was between two local volunteer and non-profit groups that teamed on earlier festivals but split after last year’s NAFF. In the breach were financial and creative differences, duplicate claims to the name, fears of public confusion, possible litigation, etc.
The epilog: Except for wet weather on Saturday, Sept. 8, peace and harmony reigned, according to organizers of the twinned events.
“Most people didn’t know the difference,” said Jim Dougherty, a former Indiana University of Pennsylvania professor who launched his brainchild in 2013.
Ditto for an organizer of the other festival, sponsored by Downtown Indiana Inc., the borough’s business-district interest group.
“It’s a small town,” Linda G. Mitchell, executive director of Downtown Indiana Inc., said during a Sept. 17 phone interview. “We all have to get along.”
Both organizers said their events tallied in the black, and they pledged a reprise for next year’s seventh edition.
MAYBE BALANCED BUDGETS make good bedfellows. But on one element, organizers have no dispute:
The borough’s open-container ordinance is a success in its first season.