Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival is held on the National Mall the last weekend of June and the 4th of July weekend. There's a full range of children and family activities ranging from hands-on activities, games, workshops and interactive presentations which explore sustainability, music and culture.
With crowds of tourists in town for the 4th of July, The National Mall typically isn't a place that I want to go in late June and early July. However, I'll make an exception for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. It's really worth battling the crowds to enjoy this one.
We visited on a drizzly Thursday morning just days before Independence Day. Arriving at 10:30AM, I thought we'd beat the crowds only to learn that the festival does not begin for the day until 11AM.
In 2015, only one country was highlighted - Peru. I could have spent all day watching the Peruvian artisans work their crafts - especially the intricate weaving and knitting. But, my kids were more motivated by a scavenger hunt.
We began our visit to the festival in the kids tent making bracelets out of rope - similar to the rope that the Peruvians were using to build a bridge across The National Mall. My son quickly tired of jewelry making and we picked up a scavenger hunt.
The scavenger hunt was very well organized. The questions were color coded in order to match the signs around the festival. Out of the twelve tents, we visited seven or eight. Most tents had a few volunteers/interns which translated and facilitated interaction between the Peruvians and festival-goers.
It's obvious that the team organizing the festival has the logistics figured out after many years of successful festivals - even if this year is slightly different than previous years in size and scope.
Overall, this is a great educational event with music, food, artisans, children activities and more.
I've attended this free festival several times and would recommend it to anyone. If you like to try different foods - there's ample opportunity at this event. Every time I've gone I've tried some new cuisine and enjoyed great performances. You should add this event to your calendar if you're in the DC area when it takes place.
This festival was a wonderful change form the museums and monuments. There were a bunch of kid activities and plenty of kid friendly demonstrations (music/dance). It is located right in the middle of the National Mall close to the Smtihsonian museums.
This festival is held each year outside on the National Mall in DC. It is free and features different cultures/cities/countries each year. Check the festival website for exact dates but it is usually held the last week of June and the first week of July. It can be very hot and humid in DC that time of year so bring lots of water and be prepared to walk and sweat. There are lots of interactive activities for kids to see and do. There is always music, dance, and regional food (to buy). The festival performances run all day and there are additonal concerts/presentations in the evening. This year they are featuring African American oral tradition, music from las Americas, and Welch culture and heritage. It is worth planning a trip around this event (I think). I wish we were going this summer!