This weekend marks the final hoorah of the 45th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival—a free exposition of cultural heritage that’s as much a part of DC’s summer scene as heat and humidity. This year’s event is expected to attract a million visitors to the National Mall as it showcases the festival’s three themes, ”Colombia: The Nature of Culture,” “The Peace Corps: 50 Years of Promoting World Peace and Friendship,” and “Rhythm and Blues: Tell It Like It Is.” Hundreds of exhibits, discussions, and performances bring a diverse patchwork of customs and cultures from all corners of the globe to life: The South American nation has sent more than 100 artists to our city in what the country’s ambassador called “a dream come true,” the Peace Corps has coordinated for performers from 16 nations to travel from as far as Botswana and Peru, and The National Museum of African American History and Culture has organized for some of the pioneers of soul and rhythm and blues to perform.
We recently ventured to the Mall to capture the sights, sounds, and smells of this year’s event. Here’s what we saw.
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