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  • Day Seven: Top Ten Photos

    If you come to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, you’re bound to hear a surprising range of stories. Today I heard comedian Terry Wayne Sanders recount how he met his wife—after he ate at the Pizza Hut where she worked for forty straight days, she invited him over for a homemade meal—and I heard chef and activist Elena Terry (Ho-Chunk Nation) describe an egregious example of cultural appropriation—someone trying to trademark the name and product of huitlachoche, a corn fungus that has been honored as a culinary delicacy by the Maya and across Mesoamerica for centuries.

    Whether humorous or aggravating, these stories inspire—joy, curiosity, action. We hope the discussions at the Festival continue off the National Mall, as we bring these stories into our own homes and communities.

    Share your Festival story on social media with #2023Folklife!

    A woman leads a group of people standing in a circle standing on gravel in front of the National Mall, the Washington Monument visible in the background.
    Rain can’t stop Mennonite churches of the D.C. area from one last sing-along! Church members called out iconic hymn numbers, launching into song like a choir you couldn’t tell formed just last week.
    Photo by Grace Bowie, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A finger peeks through columns of strings on a loom, a white, yellow, and blue stripe zigzag pattern finished on the bottom half.
    What’s all the buzz about Threads? In the hands of master Diné weaver Kevin Aspaas, these threads transform into works of art.
    Photo by Grace Bowie, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A woman smiles in profile while shaking a tambourine while another woman smiles facing the left, both dressed in traditional Ukrainian dress.
    We’re tambour-really excited for Ukrainian Village Voices, a New York City-based group seeking to preserve traditional folk song.
    Photo by Mark C. Young, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Three women pretend to be holding a giant crochet strawberry back from rolling away, wide expressions on their faces.
    These visitors have the weight of the world on their shoulders... or at least the weight of the Fayetteberry! Created by artist Gina Gallina in 2017, this bright crocheted strawberry and our sponsors from Experience Fayetteville greet visitors outside the Smithsonian Metro stop.
    Photo by Phillip R. Lee, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A woman in a blue shirt claps her hand over her mouth next to a purple quilt while a woman in a white blouse smiles and a woman in an orange shirt laughs.
    The quilters have all the gossip! Share stories over needle and thread with Martha Alsup, JoEtta Gleason, and Louise Sheridan over in the Ozarks.
    Photo by Phillip R. Lee, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A woman lies in a reclined chair with eyes closed while people in chairs sing around her.
    The Threshold Singers of D.C. volunteer their time and voices for the meaningful work of serenading those near the ends of our lives. Visitors have the chance to experience this once-in-a-lifetime experience at the Thresholds tent.
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A woman on a ladder stands underneath a wooden building, holding the end of a tapestry depicting animals and trees in warm pastel colors, pointing off in the distance.
    The Festival is welcoming new visitors! Today, the pop-up program Soul of Tengri, featuring artisans and musicians from Kazakhstan, debuted by the Pergola.
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
     man in a headwrap and traditional Kazakh dress bows a stringed instrument with a round resonator and narrow neck, a concentrated look on his face.
    Kazakh musicians serenaded visitors with the kobyz, a bowed Turkish instrument with strings made of horsehair.
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A man in a police officer uniform laughs hysterically as a man reads from a paper into a microphone.
    The Ozarks Opry brought the laughs! Comedian Terry Wayne Sanders tricked a tolerant attendee into a tongue-twisting talk.
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    Close-up on a man playing a guitar and singing into a microphone.
    Jake Blount and his band closed out to the late night on the Mall, ushering in the next seventy-five years of Folkways.
    Photo by Phillip R. Lee, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives

    On Friday, July 7, there’s lots more in store: learn The Art of Egg Decoration and Sikh Music for Children and Families. You can join discussions on Jimmy Driftwood’s Legacy, Queering Space in the Ozarks, and Rebuilding Spiritual Connections after COVID. Reverend Beth Lockard and Rabbi Darby Leigh lead A Conversation with Deaf Clergy, and representatives from Ozarks and Creative Encounters talk Community Gardens and the Common Good.

    In the evening, hear sounds of Puerto Rico and Cuba, New York, Los Angeles, and Oakland, California, at Memorias de agua: An Evening of Film, Dance, and Music. This concert salutes the transformative spirit and enduring African legacy in music and dance from the Caribbean, with a screening of the short film Daughter of the Sea and performances by Bomba Yemayá and Bobí Céspedes.

    Elisa Hough is the editor at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and Daniel Zhang is a media intern for the Folklife Festival.

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