Smithsonian Folklife Festival Focuses on Peru

The Folklife Festival, now in its 49th year, honors people from across the United States and around the world, this year with a special focus on the ecologically and culturally diverse country of Peru.   The Festival, produced by the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and located on the National Mall between Third and Fourth Streets, unites presenters and performers in the nation’s capital from Wednesday, June 24, through Sunday, June 28, and Wednesday, July 1, through Sunday, July 5.

Smithsonian Folklife 3

Perú: Pachamama” will feature more than 150 participants highlighting the Peruvian and Peruvian American communities. Experience musicians, dancers, craftspeople and cooks all showing how Peruvians are adapting and preserving their traditional culture.

“The Festival will go beyond stereotypes by focusing on the people behind the archaeology, traditions and crafts,” says program co-curator Olivia Cadaval. “We hope that Festival visitors will come away with a greater sense of how local communities use traditional culture both to honor and reinterpret their heritage.”

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Visitors to the Festival will meet participants from 12 different Peruvian communities, including

  • fishermen from the coastal town of Huanchaco who make reed rafts,
  • two sisters from the Huancayo region who continue their family tradition of engraving artwork on gourds,
  • weavers from the Center of Traditional Textiles in Cusco,
  • and a dance troupe from the crossroads-town of Paucartambo whose famous celebration of the Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen draws tourists from around the world.

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And don’t miss one of the highlights of the festival!  A suspension rope bridge or q’eswachaka (in Quechua q’eswa means “to braid” and chaka means “bridge”) is rebuilt every year by four communities from the Andean province of Canas.  Representing more than 600 years of social history, technological ingenuity and cultural pride, the bridge is a wonder to see created… and portions it will then enter the permanent collection of the   Visitors will see the National Museum of the American Indian.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2

Admission to the Festival is free and hours are from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day, with special evening events beginning at 7 p.m.

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