Slideshow: Celebrating 50 years of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Scroll through below a pictorial history of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall that celebrates 50 years of Folklife in 2017.

The 2017 Smithsonian Folklife Festival is located between Seventh and Twelfth streets and in the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building. The event runs June 29 to July 4 and July 6 to 9 and is free of charge. Click here for more information.

  • Tourist story [Smithsonian Folklife Festival] (Library of Congress)
  • A man dressed as a monkey, or bahrupiya, impersonates the monkey god Hanuman in the India program at the 1985 Festival of American Folklife on the National Mall. (Daphne Shuttleworth/Smithsonian)
  • A group of participants from Hiroshima province, Japan, demonstrate rice planting and the hanadave ritual at the 1986 Festival of American Folklife on the National Mall. (Jeff Tinsley/Smithsonian)
  • Festival participants examine taro patches enclosed by rock walls in the Hawai'i Program at the 1989 Festival of American Folklife on the National Mall. (Smithsonian)
  • Taquile musicians from Peru perform in the "Land in Native American Cultures" program at the 1991 Festival of American Folklife held on the National Mall, Washington, D.C. (Smithsonian Photo)
  • Matachines dance in an adobe plaza constructed for the New Mexico program at the 1992 Festival of American Folklife. (Jeff Tinsley/Smithsonian)
  • A Lithuanian blacksmith demonstrates his skills in the Baltic Nations program during the 1998 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. (Smithsonian Photo)
  • An aerial shot of the 1999 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, showing the site of the South Africa program.(Jeff Tinsley/Smithsonian)
  • The Dalai Lama speaks to a large crowd on the National Mall during the 2000 Smithsonian Folklife Festival which featured a program on Tibetan Culture Beyond the Land of Snows. (Jeff Tinsley/Smithsonian)
  • A house is built in the Bermuda Connections program at the 2001 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. (Shayna Rosenthal/Smithsonian)
  • Crowds on the National Mall during the 2002 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which featured the Silk Road. The annual Folklife Festival highlights grassroots cultures across the nation and around the world through performances and demonstrations of living traditions. The Festival, which began in 1967, occurs for two weeks every summer on the National Mall and attracts more than 1 million visitors. (Jeff Tinsley, Smithsonian Institution)
  • A polo match is played on the National Mall during the 2002 Smithsonian Folklife Festival featuring The Silk Road. (Jeff Tinsley/Smithsonian)
  • Visitors at the 2002 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. (Jeff Tinsley/Smithsonian)
  • Camels survey The Silk Road site at the 2002 Smithsonian Folklife Festival held on the National Mall. (Harold Dorwin/Smithsonian)
  • Visitors try Scottish ceilidh dancing at the 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. (Richard Strauss/Smithsonian)
  • A Dogon dancer from Mali walks on stilts through the 2003 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. (Smithsonian)
  • A view of the 2004 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The annual Folklife Festival highlights grassroots cultures across the nation and around the world through performances and demonstrations of living traditions. The Festival, which began in 1967, occurs for two weeks every summer on the National Mall and attracts more than 1 million visitors. (Jeff Tinsley, Smithsonian Institution)
  • Members of Los Tecuanes from Manassas, Virginia dance in front of the Smithsonian Castle during the 2004 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. (Richard Strauss/Smithsonian Institution)
  • At the 2007 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, visitors admire the Pakistani hand-painted truck originally brought to the Smithsonian for the 2002 Folklife Festival. (Ken Rahaim/Smithsonian)
  • Visitors stroll around the Northern Ireland program site at the 2007 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. (Ken Rahaim/Smithsonian)
  • A view of the 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The annual Folklife Festival highlights grassroots cultures across the nation and around the world through performances and demonstrations of living traditions. The Festival, which began in 1967, occurs for two weeks every summer on the National Mall and attracts more than 1 million visitors. (Jeff Tinsley, Smithsonian Institution)
  • Kenyan artisans take a well-earned break during the 2011 Folklife Festival. (Peace Corps)
  • A young attendee learns about Malian art at the 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. (Peace Corps)
  • Sun Dancers from Botswana on the Peace Corps World Stage at Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2011. (Peace Corps)
  • One section of the Bottle School Wall is completed during the 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. (Peace Corps)
  • The 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall featured programs on China and Kenya. (Photo by Francisco Guerra, Smithsonian)
 

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