The Washington Times: Smithsonian Folklife Festival and Other Weekend Picks

You’ll want to be sure to take a trip to the National Mall between now and July 4th to experience the Smithsonian Folklife Festival–and of course, those fabulous fireworks. This year, the festival will highlight the food, arts, and culture of Peru, and hopefully some Pisco Sours. I’ve got the details on the festival and other happenings in my Washington Times column, available in the print edition, PDF format, and below.

The Washington Times Get Out: The Week’s Pocket Picks for June 19, 2015

By Samantha Sault

Pick of the Pack: Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Take a trip to Peru without leaving the city. Beginning Wednesday and running through the Independence Day festivities, the 49th Smithsonian Folklife Festival will take over part of the National Mall to feature the arts, culture and food of Peru. The festival opens with the traditional procession of La Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen by visitors from the town of Puacartambo, followed by a concert featuring Afro-Peruvian singer Eva Ayllon, who has earned six Latin Grammy nominations for her combinations of pop sounds with traditional music and dance. Performances are scheduled nearly every evening, including July Fourth, when you can learn the traditional dances Marinera and Sarawja before the fireworks. The festival also features copious children’s activities such as Quechua language workshops, storytelling, scavenger hunts and crafts for all ages, as well as a 4,000-square-foot marketplace with handicrafts, musical recordings, specialty foods, accessories and more by Peruvian artisans. Festival through July 5 and marketplace through July 12 at the National Mall between Third and Fourth Streets SW. 202/633-6440. Web:

Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2015 Promotional Poster (Credit: Cristina Diaz-Carrera / Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage)

Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2015 Promotional Poster (Credit: Cristina Diaz-Carrera / Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage)

Festival: Fete de la Musique

French-speaking and Francophile cities around the world—including Paris, Geneva and the District—will celebrate the first day of summer Saturday with Fete de la Musique, which takes place annually on June 21. American musician and French National Radio producer Joel Cohen started the event in the 1970s, and it now brings professional and amateur musicians to the city streets to perform free concerts and revel in French culture in 120 countries. From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Washington’s Alliance Francaise will take over the park at Dupont Circle for the free event. Bring a baguette and a blanket and enjoy brass band, salsa, roots rock and, of course, vintage French chansons performed by Canadian vocalist Jennifer Scott and her jazz quartet. Other activities include children’s songs and storytelling, musical instrument workshops and face painting. Saturday in Dupont Circle. 202/234-7911. Web:

Beer: Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest

With DC Brau in the District, Flying Dog in Maryland and Bold Rock Cider in Virginia, the Washington Metropolitan area is making a name for its brewing skills. But those three big-name breweries aren’t the only ones in the region. This weekend, you can try more than three dozen from up and down the East Coast. Your admission to the eighth annual Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest will provide six drink tickets (additional tickets may be purchased) and a souvenir sampling glass, live music, cornhole games, and even demonstrations on how to cook with beer. Regional food and craft vendors will be on site, too. Saturday and Sunday at Bull Run Regional Park, 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, Virginia. 703/631-0550. Web:

Concert: Tribute to B.B. King

Blues fans mourned last month when legendary singer, songwriter and guitarist B.B. King passed away at the age of 89 in Las Vegas. Born Riley B. King, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is one of the most influential guitarists of all time for his unique style. This week, celebrate King’s legacy with a tribute performance at the historic Howard Theatre, featuring Joe Louis Walker, another blues trailblazer, who was raised in San Francisco’s Fillmore jazz and arts district and began performing at the age of 16. He has since won several Blues Music Awards and performed on Grammy-winning albums by B.B. King himself. On Thursday, Mr. Walker will be joined by the Stacy Brooks Band, Clarence “The Bluesman” Turner, B.T. Richardson, Black Betty and Lou “Jerome” Price, among others. Thursday at the Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. 202/803-2899. Web:

© Copyright 2015 The Washington Times, LLC and Samantha Sault