Smithsonian Folklife Festival Features Hands-On Activities for Children and Families

June 10, 2010
News Release
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The 44th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival will feature a variety of activities for children and families, including crafts and food demonstrations, martial arts lessons, musical performances and storytelling. This year’s programs are “Asian Pacific Americans: Local Lives, Global Ties,” “México” and “Smithsonian Inside Out.”

The Festival will be held Thursday, June 24, through Monday, June 28, and Thursday, July 1, through Monday, July 5, outdoors on the National Mall between Seventh and 14th streets. Admission is free. Festival hours are from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day, with special evening events such as concerts and dance parties beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Festival is co-sponsored by the National Park Service.

Asian Pacific Americans: Local Lives, Global Ties

The “Asian Pacific Americans: Local Lives, Global Ties” program will offer a wide variety of activities for children and their families. Each day a calligrapher from a different Asian Pacific culture will demonstrate and share with families the written characters of their native language. Children also can make leis, create a Korean or Mongolian mask, or try their hand at origami or paper folding. Festival visitors also can watch martial arts demonstrations or take part in a Burmese ballgame.


Young visitors to the “México” program will be able to try their hand at making tortillas in “La Cocina” (the kitchen) on June 27 and July 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. After making tortillas, children can play a game of canicas (marbles) or try trompos (spinning tops).

Smithsonian Inside Out

The “Smithsonian Inside Out” program will feature a variety of activities for young Festival visitors that are based on the Institution’s collections and research.

On June 24, visitors can join staff from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and create their own paper crab or hanging rockfish, while the Anacostia Community Museum will ask visitors to express their inner artist and contribute to a communal mural. Families also can learn about African stamps with the National Postal Museum or create a bookmark using African prints with staff from the National Museum of African Art.

On June 28, the National Museum of Natural History will give visitors the chance to solve a hands-on “Museum Mystery,” make “cricket music,” create an ant-head mask or become a forensic anthropologist for the day and study skeletal remains.

Children can explore the many different roles of a zookeeper and learn how to identify animals through hands-on activities with staff from the National Zoo July 4.

Other family activities during the Festival will include making a windsock, crafting an Andy Warhol collage, making a musical instrument, creating a self-portrait or designing a Tibetan prayer flag. There also will be storytelling for preschoolers and scavenger hunts for school-aged children. Kids also can design a CD cover and then get a free download from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

About the Festival

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, inaugurated in 1967, honors tradition bearers from across the United States and around the world. With approximately 1 million visitors each year, the Festival unites visitors and performers in the nation’s capital to celebrate the diversity of cultural traditions. It is produced by the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The Festival’s website is

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A press kit for the 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival is available at

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Amy Kehs

(202) 309-5543