Guest Author - Donna Ledbetter
This summer, the Smithsonian Institution hosts its 42nd annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC on the National Mall. The tradition of the festival is to highlight cultural areas found both in the United States and abroad and bring them closer to home for both your education and enjoyment. You may still find travelers from around the world who visit DC in the summer just for the festival itself. Over the years it has grown as widely popular as other native DC festivals, including the Cherry Blossom Festival and the DC Shorts Film Festival.
The dates of the Folklife Festival are encompass selected days across a span of two weeks. The reason for the gaps in the festival days are unclear, but both weekends will be open. The festival runs from June 25 to June 29 and July 2 to July 6.
Below is a description from one of the festival’s organizers of the cultural themes that will be explored this year:
"Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon
Celebrates Bhutan 's special approach towards life in the 21st century, which, as national policy, is described as the pursuit of "Gross National Happiness." More than 100 Bhutanese artists, dancers, craftspeople, cooks, carpenters, farmers, and representatives of monastic life will explore the living Bhutanese traditions that are rooted in deep respect for and protection of the Kingdom's unique resources.
NASA: Fifty Years and Beyond
Showcases the role that the men and women of NASA have played in broadening the horizons of American science and culture, as well as the role that they will continue to play in helping to shape the future by stirring the public imagination. Live presentations, hands-on educational activities, demonstrations of skills, techniques, and knowledge, narrative "oral history" sessions, and exhibits will illustrate the spirit of innovation, discovery, and service embodied by the agency’s personnel.
Texas: A Celebration of Music, Food, and Wine
Discovers the great heritage of music, food, and winemaking from every region of the Lone Star State . Texas ’s dynamic and creative society built upon rich natural resources, thriving cosmopolitan cities, engaging rural landscapes, a rich heritage of freedom, optimism, opportunity, and achievement, and vibrant contemporary culture will come to life through wine and culinary demonstrations, musical and dance performances, and famous Texas talk."