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Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

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

This 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 2022 edition takes place from June 22-27 and June 30-July 4 and will focus on the United Arab Emirates and Earth Optimism programming. 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. In addition to the marketplace that the event offers annually, there are also food demonstrations and showcases held throughout the proceedings. This year's schedule includes sessions on Bedouin cooking and Omani-style pit cooking, a honey-tasting demonstration and much more.


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.


Experience Earth Optimism programming

Earth Optimism programming will invite visitors to explore the possibilities and solutions that address some of our planet’s most significant challenges through new ways of living, learning and working toward a shared sustainable future. Storytellers, community leaders, innovators, scientists and artists working to create a sustainable planet will be featured throughout the festival, allowing you to learn how to make an impact on a local-to-global scale through workshops, performances, interactive art installations, film screenings, hands-on educational activities, cooking and gardening demonstrations and sustainable food concessions.

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