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Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Reasons to Check Out the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC

The free summer festival on the National Mall is a can't-miss family-friendly event in the nation's capital.

Each summer, the National Mall plays host to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a massive, kid-friendly celebration of cultures across the globe. The 2024 edition takes place from June 26 through July 1 and will focus on the Indigenous Voices of the Americas in celebration of the National Museum of the American Indian. Read on to learn what activities and offerings await as you plan your excursion to this only-in-DC festival.


Bring all your friends – the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is free!

Like the best things in life, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is free to enjoy. The extravaganza is easy to find as well, as it’s centrally located on the National Mall. The festival’s general info page will come in handy as you plan your multicultural adventure.


Take your taste buds to new places

Every year, this festival comes through with delicious eats.  There are always food demonstrations and showcases held throughout the proceedings. Visit the event website for more information and scheduling as the opening date draws closer.


Learn about the social power of music

The festival focuses on raising all types of cultural awareness, including live musical demonstrations. Festival-goers will be able to join musicians and dancers for free performances and classes, learn about different musical instruments and so much more. 


Enjoy a schedule packed with family-friendly activities

The festival is family-centric each and every day, but look for specific programming for youngsters throughout the weeks-long event. Also note the educational benefits of the festival, which was founded with the purpose of sparking curiosity, catalyzing intercultural exchange and creating participatory experiences that nurture human connection.


Learn about the Indigenous Voices of the Americas

Programming will animate four primary themes: Relevance, Resistance, Representation, and Reclamation. Join a circle of celebration with stories, songs and dance. Experience ancestral foods like the Three Sisters (beans, corn and squash) and inventive, sustainable cuisine. Learn stories that underlie Indigenous sports and games. Hear how Indigenous youth are reclaiming their languages through spoken-word and hip-hop. Explore traditional arts that flourish in their connections to place and environmental knowledge.

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