Places to Go - Smithsonian Folklife Festival (Washington DC)


This weekend, we made our first trip ever to the FREE!! Smithosonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. And I have to say, I was REALLY IMPRESSED. Immediately upon arriving (after a super hot walk in the glaring sun), we stumbled into the family activities tent, on one side of which a man taught people how to speak Celtic ("cool!" I exclaimed, "not cool!" exclaimed my children), on the other side, multiple stamps allowed children to create words in lost languages. Coloring sheets of endangered alphabets and blank postcards for decorating were also available. My kids quickly got to work, while I explored the tent's banners and signs. A huge map on the wall asked people to contribute (through post it notes) stories of words and phrases from other languages that do not translate well into English. I loved reading all the quirky/sad/funny stories. After A LOT of coloring, I finally convinced my children to leave the tent and explore further.

So we: checked out yurts, listened to some live music (the festival has 8 DIFFERENT TENTS set up for music, dancing, and discussions, all of which host back to back events from 11am - 5pm, so at any given time, it's practically impossible to not find something interesting to watch), watched a man and women carve from wood and stone, and played various different instruments in the Garifuna tent.

Eventually, we made our way into the Hungarian section of the festival, where several sets of stilts and lawn games awaited us. P spent about thirty minutes attempting to master the stilts (she could have stayed there all day), while F painted a wall and learned about weaving. Then we checked out two different sets of Hungarian dancers (one in the barn and one in the Heritage House). We could have stayed all day, but, unfortunately, a storm was moving in (does anyone else feel as if it's ALWAYS raining in DC this summer?). So we headed back to the car, without having time to check out the Will to Adorn Section. Though hopefully we'll be back soon, because there's still SO MUCH to see and do.

The Folklife Festival runs from 10 am to 6 pm, Wednesday July 3rd - Sunday, July 7th. Admission is FREE!! Click here for a schedule of events and more information (there's also an app).


The yurts fascinated my kids.


Hungarians know how to throw a party.


No trip to the National Mall would be complete without a carousel ride and some-sort of bright-colored (probably awful for you) frozen treat from a street vendor.



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