Jul 6, 2010

2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is one of those things that makes DC a great place for families. Each year there are 3 areas, each focusing on a different state, region or theme and the displays they offer can be fantastic. You see architecture, crafts, food, and other aspects of a culture and it's very interactive.

This year even the Folklife Festival was hit by the recession. Alabama, the state that was going to be featured had to pull out and the themes that were represented had much smaller exhibits.

Even with the cutbacks there was still a lot to see at the festival that made it worth braving the triple-digit temperatures. One of the themes was Mexico and they had amazing stuff. These dancers called Chinelos performed in their full costume including velvet gowns. They must've been so hot.
Mexican dancers

In one of the tents we saw this woman spinning. They said that she'd been doing it since she was 7. I was impressed! I can barely spin without screwing up but she'd turning the crank on the wheel with one hand and controlling the fiber with the other.
Spinning since she was 7

In the same tent as the spinner they had a cool display of wool and dyeing materials.
Dye stuff

Some of these skeins had been dyed during demonstrations earlier in the festival. It would've been interesting to watch but the day we were there it hit 100 - way too hot to be dyeing.

The coolest thing we saw had to be the Voladores. The Teenek of Tamaleton performed the Danza del Bixom Tiiw ceremony. Four men representing the 4 directions climb a pole and fly down attached by ropes in honor of Dhipaak, the Lord of Corn. They said they weren't really performing as much as they were sharing the blessings on the corn. They said a lot of other things too but much of it was in Spanish so DQ understood everything but me... not so much. Still cool though.

Danza de los Voladores


sprite said...

Ah! So that's why they had that weird Smithsonian exhibit. Thanks for clearing that up.

I agree with you that the Mexico exhibit was fascinating. My friend John remarked that I seem to be lucky every year as they always seem to have some yarny bits for the knitters. But we liked the instrument-making booth as well. And we caught the final Danza del Bixom Tiiw of the festival. I couldn't believe it when the captain of the dancers climbed up to the top of the pole and started dancing and jumping around up there. I couldn't have done it on the ground without falling over, let alone 100 feet in the air!

Carole Knits said...

It looks like another great festival - too bad it's always so freakin' hot!

Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

That looks like a wonderful festival to attend.