Get local news delivered straight to your phone
We can't make City Paper without you
What I get out of the Smithsonian’s annual Folklife Festival is that every culture it celebrates—from Alaska (1984) to the Mekong River (2007)—also hates Washington weather in early July. According to my research, there hasn’t been a single fest that’s been a digit under 1,000 degrees, with a humidity level of “poisonous puddle.” But if you can stand the heat, the Folklife Festival offers a sun-baked smorgasbord of family-friendly edutainment. Started in 1967, the fest always focuses on a handful of regions or cultural activities, and this year it’s the arts and lifestyles within Colombia’s six distinct ecosystems, 50 years of the Peace Corps, and the history of rhythm and blues. Arts, crafts, song, dance, and food help bring the world together—almost as much as complaining about the weather.
The Smithsonian Folklife Festival takes place 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays to Mondays through July 11 on the National Mall. Free.