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Smithsonian Folklife Festival celebrates 50 years of American experiences!

Smithsonian Folklife Festival Celebrates 50 years

One year in DC

Smithsonian Folklife Festival celebrates 50 years of American experiences!

Hosted yearly on the National Mall, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is a showcase of American heritage and culture. This year is their 50th anniversary and will feature two sets of programming “Circus Arts” and “On the Move”.

“Visitors to this year’s Festival will encounter both story and spectacle,” said Sabrina Lynn Motley, festival director. “From the thought-provoking discussion stages to the dazzling Big Top performances, visitors to the Festival will have the opportunity to interact with and learn from hundreds of musicians, artists, performers and others as we celebrate 50 years of cultural exchange on the National Mall.”

Visitors will have a chance to engage in a variety of art-forms from poetry, to capoeira, to circus acts. Read on to see when and where you can experience this year’s Smithsonian Folklife festival.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival Celebrates 50 years


June 29 – July 4

July 6- July 9


dance parties 5:30pm

circus performances 7pm


the National Mall between Seventh and 12th streets

Admission is free.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival Celebrates 50 years

Daily Events

Big Top performances are first come first serve, tickets are available at the information booth prior to the show. *no exotic animals are featured in any performances *the July 1st show requires advanced ticketing

  • Daily performances in the Big Top circus tent
  • circus school in the Arts and Industries Building
  • murals by local artists CHELOVE and MasPaz will be created to provide discussion opportunities
Smithsonian Folklife Festival Celebrates 50 years

Muralist Cita Sadeli aka Chelove, whose work will be on display during the festival. Photo courtesy of Cita Sadeli

Special Events

  • July 1st & 2nd Soccer demonstrations by Fugees Family Inc.  will be held with visitor participation opportunities
  • June 30th & July 7th Naturalization Ceremonies for new U.S. Citizens will happen at the Ralph Rinzler Stage on the National Mall
  • June 30th & July 7th Poetry Slam workshops and performances will be lead by three-time National Poetry Slam champion, Regie Cabico.

Daily Schedule & More information 


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  1. Trip Hacks DC

    July 5, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    The Folklife Festival is always a great family-friendly event, but I feel like this year’s is one of the best for kids. The circus shows and demonstrations look like tons of fun for kids of various ages.

    • Tina

      July 5, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      Can I admit that I haven’t been yet, but I will- I swear! and thanks for dropping by!

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