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  • 8 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Festival Visit

    Visitors participate in a storytelling actvity at the 2014 Folklife Festival. Photo by Brian Barger, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Visitors participate in a storytelling actvity at the 2014 Folklife Festival. Photo by Brian Barger, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives

    The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is ten days of music, dance, storytelling, processions, ceremonies, and more. The sights, sounds, and smells can be quite a sensory overload. To help you prepare for your visit, whether you are a Festival first-timer or a seasoned connoisseur, here are some tips to help you get the most out of the Festival before it even starts.

    1. Find basic information on our website and through the official hashtag #2015Folklife.
    At the Festival you will be immersed in Peruvian culture through the people you meet the people, the dishes you taste, and the songs you hear. Learn about them in advance so you can fully enjoy the experience at the Festival. Information is available in English and Spanish.

    If you are active on social media, be sure to include #2015Folklife when sharing photos are events on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

    2. Plan which special concerts to attend with your friends.
    Music from the coast, the mountains, and the jungle—what are you most excited to hear? In addition to performers by our participants from Peru, like the Afro-Peruvian group Tutuma or the Marinera Viva!!! dancers, you can also see world-famous musicians Eva Ayllón, Susana Baca, and Alex Acuña. Pack a picnic or get dinner in the concessions stands, lay out a blanket, and enjoy the show! Most concerts begin at 7 p.m., with a few that start earlier on both weekends.

    Photo by Zaki Ghul, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Photo by Zaki Ghul, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives

    3. Get a preview of the Peruvian food you can try.
    Want to taste some choclo corn on the cob—with extra-large kernels that were used for the original CornNuts snack? How about some vegetable quinoa salad in an avocado “bowl”? There are plenty of meat dishes to try as well, such as ají de gallina (chicken stew), papa rellena (ground beef in a potato croquette), polla a la brasa (rotisserie chicken).

    Sun and humidity got you thirsty? Try a refreshing chicha morada (purple corn punch) or jugo de maracuyá (passion fruit juice), or Peruvian beers and cocktails!

    4. Bringing the whole family? Come to the Wawawasi Kids Corner!
    Events and activities at the Festival are designed to entertain children of all ages. In the Wawawasi Kids Corner, young visitors can try making their own neon-colored chicha posters, learning phrases in Quechua and Kukama, dancing the Sarawja, and much more! See a complete schedule of activities in this tent online.

    5. Plan your Marketplace exploration in advance.
    Do you need to find some special gifts? Looking to decorate your home with arts and crafts from around the world? Bring home the global spirit of the Folklife Festival with products that highlight creativity, heritage, and masterful skill. This year the Marketplace is located inside the National Museum of the American Indian on the ground floor. Artisans from Peru will demonstrate their skills in the Marketplace, so check the schedule to find your favorites.

    6. Have an eye for details? Love challenges? Join the #FolklifeSignsHunt!
    Find the Folklife Festival posters around the region in airports, Metro stations, and on buses. Take a picture and share it with us on your social media accounts! Don’t forget to include the hashtags #FolklifeSignsHunt and #2015Folklife.

    7. Know the routes to the Festival. We advise you to use public transportation because finding a parking spot on the National Mall can be very challenging—and expensive. Here are the nearest Metro stations:

    – Federal Center SW
    – L’Enfant Plaza
    – Archives / Penn Quarter
    – Smithsonian

    We also encourage visitors to ride their bicycles to the Festival. Bike racks can be found at the main entrance of the National Museum of the American Indian and the east entrance of the National Gallery of Art. On July 2, join local shop BicycleSPACE for the Full Moon Ride to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

    On the street in Huanchaco, #Peru | En las calles de Huanchaco, Peru #mural #streetart

    A photo posted by Smithsonian Folklife (@smithsonianfolklife) on

    8. Share your #MyFolklife experience!
    Invite your family and friends to come so that they can learn about Peruvian culture too! Take photos, talk with the participants, try new dance moves, taste new foods, and share what you’ve learned with the hashtag #MyFolklife. We hope the experience will inspire you to continue exploring other cultures!

    Do you have other tips for new visitors? Share them in the comments.

    We look forward to seeing you on the National Mall!

    Victoria Gunawan is a social media intern with the 2015 Folklife Festival.

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