Washington DC – Smithsonian Folklife Festival, 2

The Festival is a really special experience in the capitol, every year! See cultures you might otherwise not experience, and do so on a personal level.

Photos are archived at the event site for previous Smithsonian Folklife Festivals and they will give you a great introduction to the kind of experience you can expect this year.

Recently, the curators invited representatives to share: The Power of Words in Afro-American Culture, Wales:Cmyru, Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon, Texas: Music, Food and Wine, Mekong River: Connecting Cultures, Northern Ireland, Roots of Virginia’s Culture, Carriers of Culture: Native Basket-making Traditions and Nuestra Música – Latino Chicago.

Now a few tips:

___ This event is always held during the warmest time of year in Washington, DC, so plan to: dress appropriately, bring hats and drink lots of water! Give yourself time to visit nearby Smithsonian Museums on both sides of the National Mall, to cool off.

___ Be sure to bring your camera and lots of batteries.

___ Plan to eat your meals at the festival. The food is reflects the themes of the festival. If your children are picky, share some of yours until they find something they like or, lastly, find something familiar from a street vendor.

___ There are hands-on activities to keep children involved, so watch out for these.

___ For souvenirs, experience the Marketplace which is usually located in front of the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art. There you can find merchandise produced by festival artisans and some related books and CDs.

2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Program:

___ Asian Pacific Americans: Local Lives, Global Ties
This focuses on what it means to be a person of Asian Pacific descent living in the United States now. Visitors can enjoy:

  • theater
  • music and dance performances
  • language and calligraphy traditions
  • martial arts, healing arts, and ritual arts
  • crafts and foodways demonstrations
  • sports and games presentations
  • children’s activities
  • Learn about Asian Pacific American history, culture and traditions.

    ___ Mexico: Celebrate Mexico’s Independence Bicentenary (1810-2010) and Revolution Centenary (1910-2010).

    This program examines the histories and cultures of pre-Columbian civilizations. Visitors will be able to explore four thematic areas: the plaza, the market, the workshop and the field.

    In these settings, participants will engage in:

  • ceremonial and social dances
  • satirical processions
  • traditional and rock music
  • foodways, crafts, healing traditions
  • farming* and fishing techniques
  • tequila and mezcal production
  • vernacular architecture
  • *You will see demonstrated the continuing tradition of pre-hispanic farming featuring a chinampa model garden, as well as corn farming and bee-keeping.

    ___ Smithsonian Inside Out: Behind the scenes.
    The public is invited to learn more about the Smithsonian Institution.

    There will be representatives from the institution’s 19 museums, nine research centers, and numerous outreach and education programs.

    Visitors can learn how projects around the institution respond to Four Grand Challenges which are:

  • Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe
  • Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet
  • Valuing World Cultures
  • Understanding the American Experience
  • The Aim is to do all this while broadening research, strengthening collections and revitalizing education and discourse across science’s disciplinary boundaries.

    I’ll be introducing you to some of the Smithsonian’s fabulous museums, next. They are really accessible to ordinary people, in ways other museums often aren’t. These spots are some of my favorite places on the planet. I look forward to sharing them with you. Use the Festival as a great introduction to the Spirit of the Smithsonian!

    REFERENCES:
    Smithsonian Folk Life Festival

    LINKS:
    Part 1:
    Smithsonian Folklife Festival – Overview

    2010 Smithsonian Folk Life Festival

    Washington, DC Article Archive

    ©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

    Leave a Reply