I think the late end to the school year has thrown off my mental calendar, because until I happened upon the clusters of white tents and construction of several interesting wooden structures on the National Mall yesterday, I completely forgot the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival begins this week!
The 10-day celebration of living cultural heritage begins tomorrow June 26 and runs through June 30, then again July 3-7. Generally, the festival is divided into three programs focusing on a nation, region, state, or theme. This year will spotlight “Hungarian Heritage: Roots to Revival,” “One World, Many Voices: Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage,” and “The Will to Adorn: African American Diversity, Style, and Identity.”
Visitors of all ages will have many opportunities to discover and explore all three areas through special exhibits, workshops, performances, exhibits, demos, and more, including plenty of activities especially children. For specifics, see the festival schedule.
This will all take place on the National Mall just past Smithsonian Castle. Festival hours are 11am – 5:30pm with special events and performances taking place later most evenings. And in true Smithsonian spirit, just about all of it is free and open to the public. Concessions will be available for purchase, including fare inspired by the festival themes.
If you plan to go… Be aware that the National Mall will likely be crowded during this time. Besides the influx of tourists to DC during the summer, the July 4th celebration draws even more crowds, especially in the days leading up to the Independence Day event (on the day of, it’s jam-packed). That said, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival definitely is worth checking out. We go at some point every year and always find exhibits and activities that are interesting for the whole family. Generally, I always recommend taking Metro to the Mall. The Smithsonian stop on the Blue/Orange line and L’Enfant on Blue/Orange & Yellow/Green is also nearby.