Smithsonian Folklife Festival highlights ‘resilient communities’

The overall theme of this year's Folk Life Festival is resilient communities, said James Mayer with the Smithsonian Center for Folk Life and Culture Heritage that produces the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival -- pictured Tuesday while the festival site was still being readied for visitors. (WTOP/Kristi King)
The overall theme of this year’s Folklife Festival is “resilient communities,” said James Mayer, with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, which produces the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. He’s pictured Tuesday while the festival site was still being readied for visitors. (WTOP/Kristi King)

In the "On The Move" tent members of the Basque, Californian and local communities will hold discussions.  "And share how culture has impacted their experience as an immigrant," said James Mayer with the Smithsonian Center for Folk Life and Culture Heritage. "Or [share] how moving -- whether from a new country of just within D.C. or within the United States has impacted their culture." (WTOP/Kristi King)
In the “On The Move” tent, members of the Basque, Californian and local communities will hold discussions “and share how culture has impacted their experience as an immigrant,” said James Mayer, with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

“Or [share] how moving — whether from a new country or just within D.C. or within the United States — has impacted their culture.” (WTOP/Kristi King)

Along the mall at Fourth Street the Ralph Rinzler Concert Stage will host 6:30 p.m. concerts or activities most nights during the festival. If thunderstorms are likely entertainment will be moved to the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building at 900 Jefferson Drive Southwest. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Along the mall at 4th Street, the Ralph Rinzler Concert Stage will host 6:30 p.m. concerts or activities most nights during the festival. If thunderstorms are likely, entertainment will be moved to the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building at 900 Jefferson Drive in Southwest. (WTOP/Kristi King)

From Smithsonian Institution: Blanka Gomes de Segura, from Alava, Spain, is the only potter currently practicing traditional Basque pottery. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution/Josue Castilleja)
Blanka Gomes de Segura, from Alava, Spain, is the only potter currently practicing traditional Basque pottery. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution/Josue Castilleja)

From Smithsonian Institution: Members of Great Leap’s Fandang Obon project perform at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles in 2015. This collaboration, led by California-born Japanese and Mexican American artists, explores the connections between fandangos on jarocho of Veracruz, Mexico, and obon,a Japanese Buddhist ritual. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution/photo by MikeMurase/courtesy of Great Leap Inc.)
Members of Great Leap’s FandangObon project perform at the Japanese-American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles in 2015. This collaboration, led by California-born Japanese and Mexican-American artists, explores the connections between fandango son jarocho of Veracruz, Mexico, and obon, a Japanese Buddhist ritual. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution/Photo by Mike Murase/Courtesy of Great Leap Inc.)

From Smithsonian Institution: Men from Ituren, Spain, march in the Joaldunak, an iconic carnival ritual that has pre-Christian roots. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution/David Hornbeck)
Men from Ituren, Spain, march in the Joaldunak, an iconic carnival ritual that has pre-Christian roots. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution/David Hornbeck)

From Smithsonian Institution: Based in Fresno, California, the Mixteco dance group Grupo Nuu Yuku represent the San Joaquin Valley’s indigenous Oaxacan farmworker communities.They perform a specialized local tradition unique to their families’ hometown in San Miguel Cuevas, Oaxaca. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution/Photo by Amy Kitchener/ Courtesy of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts)
Based in Fresno, California, the Mixteco dance group Grupo Nuu Yuku represent the San Joaquin Valley’s indigenous Oaxacan farmworker communities. They perform a specialized local tradition unique to their families’ hometown in San Miguel Cuevas, Oaxaca. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution/Photo by Amy Kitchener/Courtesy of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts)

At Rollo's Tacos tent the Elote loco is broiled corn topped with mayonnaise, butter, Mexican cheese, and chili powder. (WTOP/Kristi King)
At the festival’s tent for Rollo’s Tacos, the elote loco is broiled corn topped with mayonnaise, butter, Mexican cheese and chili powder. (WTOP/Kristi King)

In addition to Guillermo’s Artisanal Gelato other concession tents include:  Thai Dishes, Rollo’s Tacos and Txoko Alabardero: Basque Cuisine which offers dishes such as short rib stew and pork sausages.(WTOP/Kristi King)
In addition to Guillermo’s Artisanal Gelato, other concession tents include Thai dishes, Rollo’s Tacos and Txoko Alabardero: Basque Cuisine, which offers dishes such as short rib stew and pork sausages. (WTOP/Kristi King)

In the Basque area artisans will be building a boat during the course of the Folk Life Festival. (WTOP/Kristi King)
In the Basque area of the festival, artisans will build a boat during the course of the festival. (WTOP/Kristi King)

Other adult beverages offered at the festival include Basque Country sparkling white wine and red wine from Spain. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Adult beverages offered at the festival include Basque country sparkling white wine and red wine from Spain. (WTOP/Kristi King)

On Tuesday, Curator Sojin Kim on the left and others from the Smithsonian Center for Folk Life and Culture Heritage make last minute preparations for the Annual Folk Life Festival that begins at 11 a.m. Wednesday. (WTOP/Kristi King)
On Tuesday, curator Sojin Kim, on the left, and others from the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage make last-minute preparations for the annual Folklife Festival, which begins at 11 a.m. Wednesday. (WTOP/Kristi King)

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The overall theme of this year's Folk Life Festival is resilient communities, said James Mayer with the Smithsonian Center for Folk Life and Culture Heritage that produces the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival -- pictured Tuesday while the festival site was still being readied for visitors. (WTOP/Kristi King)
In the "On The Move" tent members of the Basque, Californian and local communities will hold discussions.  "And share how culture has impacted their experience as an immigrant," said James Mayer with the Smithsonian Center for Folk Life and Culture Heritage. "Or [share] how moving -- whether from a new country of just within D.C. or within the United States has impacted their culture." (WTOP/Kristi King)
Along the mall at Fourth Street the Ralph Rinzler Concert Stage will host 6:30 p.m. concerts or activities most nights during the festival. If thunderstorms are likely entertainment will be moved to the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building at 900 Jefferson Drive Southwest. (WTOP/Kristi King)
From Smithsonian Institution: Blanka Gomes de Segura, from Alava, Spain, is the only potter currently practicing traditional Basque pottery. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution/Josue Castilleja)
From Smithsonian Institution: Members of Great Leap’s Fandang Obon project perform at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Los Angeles in 2015. This collaboration, led by California-born Japanese and Mexican American artists, explores the connections between fandangos on jarocho of Veracruz, Mexico, and obon,a Japanese Buddhist ritual. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution/photo by MikeMurase/courtesy of Great Leap Inc.)
From Smithsonian Institution: Men from Ituren, Spain, march in the Joaldunak, an iconic carnival ritual that has pre-Christian roots. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution/David Hornbeck)
From Smithsonian Institution: Based in Fresno, California, the Mixteco dance group Grupo Nuu Yuku represent the San Joaquin Valley’s indigenous Oaxacan farmworker communities.They perform a specialized local tradition unique to their families’ hometown in San Miguel Cuevas, Oaxaca. (Courtesy Smithsonian Institution/Photo by Amy Kitchener/ Courtesy of the Alliance for California Traditional Arts)
At Rollo's Tacos tent the Elote loco is broiled corn topped with mayonnaise, butter, Mexican cheese, and chili powder. (WTOP/Kristi King)
In addition to Guillermo’s Artisanal Gelato other concession tents include:  Thai Dishes, Rollo’s Tacos and Txoko Alabardero: Basque Cuisine which offers dishes such as short rib stew and pork sausages.(WTOP/Kristi King)
In the Basque area artisans will be building a boat during the course of the Folk Life Festival. (WTOP/Kristi King)
Other adult beverages offered at the festival include Basque Country sparkling white wine and red wine from Spain. (WTOP/Kristi King)
On Tuesday, Curator Sojin Kim on the left and others from the Smithsonian Center for Folk Life and Culture Heritage make last minute preparations for the Annual Folk Life Festival that begins at 11 a.m. Wednesday. (WTOP/Kristi King)

WASHINGTON — The sights, sounds and aromas of cultures from across the Atlantic and across the Rockies will be featured Wednesday on the National Mall with the opening of the 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

This year, the annual summer event explores the Basque culture that spans northern Spain and southern France, as well as the immensely diverse musical traditions that have sprung from the cultural melting pot of California.

“There is a lot going on in California,” said Sojin Kim, a curator at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. “In addition to being the most populous state, it’s also one of the most diverse states. It has the largest Native American population.”

And more than a quarter of California’s population is made up of people not born in the U.S., Kim added.

Particularly apropos of the current political conditions and conversations both here and abroad, the festival features an “On The Move” tent that will help people examine and consider how the act of moving can impact identities and culture.

“The overall theme for the 2016 Smithsonian Folklife Festival is resilient communities,” said James Mayer, also with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. “That is an element that unifies both the Basque culture as well as all of the different communities from California that we’re featuring.”

The “On the Move” tent will explore the unifying themes in more detail, Mayer added.

The free festival offers a wide variety of foods for sale that reflect the cultures visitors are invited to experience.

Anyone attending the festival’s evening concerts, which start at 6:30 p.m., should bring a blanket or lawn chair — no seating will be provided.

The festival is on the National Mall between 4th and 7th streets during the last week of June and first week of July — June 29-July 4 and July 7-10. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., but special events happen most festival nights beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Find a full list of events on their website.

It’s going to be hot out on the National Mall over the next few weeks. While visiting the festival, be sure to dress appropriately and stay hydrated.

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