The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, one of DC’s most anticipated annual events kicks off today! Taking place on the National Mall between 7th and 12th Streets from June 29 – July 4 then July 6-9, this year’s event — the 50th! — celebrates themes of Circus Arts and On the Move.
I highly recommend experiencing this Festival every year! There is such a wonderful and interesting variety of activities, performances, demonstrations, and exhibits that really delve into the cultures and concepts being showcased, with plenty for all ages to enjoy.
This year’s Circus Arts sounds especially appealing, as the Smithsonian Folklife Festival highlights its rich history, mystique, and diversity. Along with thrilling performances, we’ll get insight into the life behind the shows and the people who keep circus arts alive and engaging, along with the many kinds of creative work that brings it all together.
On the Move explores how American culture has been shaped by the movement of people to and within the United States. Focusing on youth, culture, and migration, it highlights the social power of tradition and art, and focuses on how young people assume responsibility as bridge builders among communities, generations, and to the future.
Festival hours are 11am – 5pm each day it runs, with the opening ceremony at 10am this first day, and evening dance parties at 5:30pm and circus performances most nights at 7pm. Admission to all of it is free. For more information, including the schedule of events, visit the Festival website.
When 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). Even with the extra bustle, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is a signature DC event that is so worth checking out. We go at some point every year and are continually impressed with the variety and quality of festivities.
*Generally, I always recommend taking Metro to the Mall — the Smithsonian stop is on the Blue/Orange line, and L’Enfant on Blue/Orange & Yellow/Green is also nearby.
*Concessions will be for sale at the event, plus there are cafes and eateries in most of the museums.
*Don’t let the heat deter you — the museums are easy to pop into if you need to cool off!