At the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, we’re used to all sorts of wild weather: extreme heat, sudden thunderstorms, and even a derecho. But this may be the first year since 1967 that our outdoor event was impacted by wildfire smoke, blowing south from Canada and turning D.C. skies hazy throughout the day.
As a result, we opened today without a formal opening ceremony, although elements of the service will be incorporated throughout the next two weeks. All our participants were eager to finally gather on the National Mall, but some opted to shelter indoors. Nevertheless, enthusiastic crowds convened to watch bluegrass at the Pickin’ Parlor, prepare Hawaiian taro in Kitchen Theology, and enjoy An Evening with Ozarks Women on the Rinzler Stage.
The air quality is expected to improve over the next few days, so make your weekend plans on the National Mall. And check back here on the Festival Blog as we share our favorite daily photos by our talented documentation team and highlights for the next day!
In the evening, raise your spirits with the Rinzler Stage concert, Come Let Us Sing: Gospel Music Legacies. The lineup features pedal-steel guitarist Fran “Lady Strings” Grace, the Kingdom Fellowship AME Church Choir, and recent NEA National Heritage Fellowship award-winners the Legendary Ingramettes. Between sets, catch the big-screen premiere of a short documentary on gospel singer and teacher Shelley Ensor, produced by the Maryland State Arts Council with Wide Angle Youth Media.