47 years ago, the first Smithsonian Folklife Festival was initiated in Washington, D.C. Today, the Festival has become a national and international living cultural heritage expedition, home to over 250 artists and over 1 million visitors from all around the world. I am so ready for this year’s lineup, kicking off June 25 to 29 and July 2 to 6 on the National Mall.
The theme of the program this year will be China: Tradition and the Art of Living and Kenya: Mambo Poa! The China program emphasizes the themes of BALANCE and REUNION, processes of more profound importance than ever in China. The program will also feature seasonal festival traditions, emphasize the exuberance of public life, share the meaning and preparation of Chinese foodways, engage visitors in craft and performance workshops, and highlight the country’s cultural diversity.
The Kenya: Mambo Poa program will present the ways in which the people of Kenya are balancing protection of their valued cultural and natural heritage with the challenges and opportunities for change in the twenty-first century. Festival visitors will be able to interact with exemplary craftspeople who work with everything from clay to soapstone to recycled materials, learn about important fossil discoveries and so much more!
What I love most about the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is the opportunity to meet carriers of cultural traditions in a very personal way. You will have the chance to ask questions and engage with participants to hear their unique insider stories and experiences. It amazes me to think how Washington, D.C. has become the quintessential cultural center, home to so many diverse groups. This Festival is a time to learn and appreciate our fellow Americans and their family sagas from generation to generation.
There is no admission charge to the Festival. I highly suggest dressing for hot and humid weather- summer will be in full effect! Parking around the Mall is extremely limited, so you are advised to use Metrorail. Your Capella Washington, D.C. Personal Assistant is of course on hand to arrange transportation services to and from the Festival as well. I look forward to seeing you there!