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The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

New England Folk Festival Association

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New England Folk Festival Association


Information: An organization.

The New England Folk Festival Association (NEFFA) is a volunteer-run, non-profit, cultural and educational organization. The NEFFA's objectives are to preserve folk traditions in New England and elsewhere, to encourage the development of a living folk culture, and to encourage high standards of quality and performance in the folk arts.

In the summer of 1944, three people were chatting over coffee after a Tuesday night Square Dance at the Boston YWCA: Grace Palmer, director of the YWCA; Mary Gillette, head of the YWCA physical education program; and Ralph Page, the popular New Hampshire caller who presided at the Square Dances. The series had been running for little more than a year, but was already drawing over two hundred people every week, most of them college students. As Ralph Page later recalled the conversation, they were discussing a recent attempt at a "New England Folk Festival" at Boston Garden which had left them unimpressed. Suddenly, Mary said, "Why don’t we have a real folk festival?" and so the idea was born – as simple as that!"

In 1948, set of bylaws was drawn up shortly after the 1950 Festival and adopted in October; on November 28 the New England Folk Festival Association, Inc., received its charter.


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