Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Washington DC


 While only a seasonal event, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is a fantastic and free way to spend time in DC, having fun and learning about different cultures. Each year for roughly 2 weeks, the Smithsonian picks a different theme and different cultures to put on exhibits on the National Mall. There is food for sale specific to the countries that are performing, live demonstrations that are interactive and child friendly, as well as activities that are just for watching.



                 This year was a special circus theme, and we particularly enjoyed seeing the stilt walkers, trapeze artists, the Hebei Golden Eagle Acrobatic Troupe from China, and the Sailor Circus. While most years usually have all of the events outside, this year for the 50th anniversary, they had a large, air conditioned circus tent which hosted many shows. They have a complete schedule of all of the different performances, story-telling, and activities listed on their website, so make sure to check the times and dates as each day varies as to what will be open.

Living 30 minutes from DC, there is always the worry that the activity planned may not sustain attention for more than an hour. This is not a problem with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival as there are so many events going on simultaneously, that you can always find something that will pique the interest of each visitor. Further, they have water stations set out so that you can refill your water bottles, which is incredibly helpful since there is minimal shade and the summer heat can be brutal. Additionally, if you do get too hot, it is well located so that you can go into any of the surrounding museums to cool off. The amount of time, thought, and effort put into this annual event is evident, and is something that our family looks forward to going to every year!

Regarding accessibility services, they list that accessible seating is available at all performances, with a limited number of wheel chairs and folding canes available for loan at the volunteer tent. They also provide ASL interpreters and real time captioning services for selected performances. The schedule of which performances this is available for is also listed on their website.

Website: http://www.festival.si.edu/

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