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Preview: Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2017

Celebrate 50 years of an annual D.C. tradition at this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Preview: Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2017

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival kicks off Thursday.

For two weeks each summer, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage brings together cultural traditions from over 100 countries in an educational and interactive format: the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

This year’s festival, held June 29 to July 4 and July 6 to July 9, commemorates 50 years of the annual D.C. celebration, which originated in 1967. The festival is free for all ages and takes place on the National Mall and in the Arts and Industries Building.

Some of this year’s notable events and programs include a behind the scenes look at American circus arts, a collection of 50 unique objects from past festivals and an exploration of immigration and migration in America. Visitors to the festival can participate in workshops, discussions and cooking demos, as well as explore a marketplace of pottery, books, clothing and more.

In honor of the festival’s 50th anniversary, catch the Ralph Rinzler Memorial Concert on Thursday, June 29 at 5:30 p.m., featuring Cajun band and NEA National Heritage Fellow BeauSoleil. During the festival’s reunion weekend, held July 8 to July 9, visitors can share their thoughts and memories of the festival in conversation with past and present festival participants, as well as sing and dance during Jam Sessions in the dining area from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Check out the festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, with evening concerts by NEA National Heritage Fellows at 5:30 p.m. and circus performances beginning at 7 p.m. A full schedule of events can be found on the festival’s website.

When: June 29 to July 4, July 6 to July 9, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: National Mall between 7th and 12th Streets and in the Arts and Industries Building

Metro: Blue, Orange or Silver line, Smithsonian station

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