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2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC

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2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Courtesy of Jeff Tinsley for the Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival takes place on the National Mall in Washington, DC. This free event takes place over 10 days and celebrates the cultural traditions of places around the world and close to home. 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival goers can learn about oral traditions in African American culture, explore music and its meaning in Latino culture and experience the vibrant culture of Wales.

What To Expect

First, this is, without a doubt, a family friendly event. While part of the fun is eating some of the yummy foods that will be for sale, if you're on a budget or have some fussy eaters, pack a picnic. It will be just as enjoyable.

Festival goers will get to enjoy performance venues that include re-creations of a barbershop, a beauty shop, a porch stoop and a radio station. The program also will feature a “hush harbor”--a term given to a place where enslaved African Americans would go to talk without surveillance--which will provide visitors with a quiet place to read about the traditions presented at the Festival and contemplate their visit.

Program participants will include poets Sonia Sanchez and Toni Blackman, storytellers Charlotte Blake-Alston and Valerie Tutson, comedians James Hannah and Royale Watkins, talk show host Lorne Cress-Love of WPFW-FM and thespians Holly Bass and Roger Guenveur Smith. Participants in the children’s and youth culture section of the program will include Grammy-winning singer-storyteller Ella Jenkins and the Asante Children’s Theatre.

The festival takes place June 24-June 28 and July 1-5, 2009 the festival and is open daily 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dance Parties start at 5:30 p.m.

General Infomation

Festival Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Dance Parties: 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Festival Location: National Mall between 7th-14thStreets Near Smithsonian Museums

Festival Cost: Free - There is no charge for admission

Festival Parking: Limited - Side Streets and $10-$20 Day Pay Lots

Metrorail Finder:

  • National Mall--Smithsonian Station (Blue & Orange Lines)
  • L' Enfant Plaza Station (Blue, Green, Orange & Yellow Lines)
  • Federal Triangle Station (Blue & Orange Lines)


Food and Drink: Food and drink is available for purchase at concessions on-site. Water fountains throughout Mall.

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