Friday, July 6, 2007

2007 Folklife Festival and Live Earth

This is going to be a great weekend for both folklife and entertainment. The annual D.C. Folklife Festival has been going on since before July 4'th. Jack and I went by car and then Metro to the festival last Friday-June 29'th. We arrived on the mall via the Smithsonian Station Metro Stop at 11:15 A.M. and we found enough to keep us busy until 7:30 P.M. This is one of the better folklife festivals. Two years ago the festival focused on food prep around the world and we got to watch Emirl Legasse kick it up a notch or two. But the festival that year was a little confusing. This year there are three distinct places to explore:
Northern Ireland
The Mekong Delta
Root of Virginia Culture

When we arrived at the festival last Friday we made a beeline to the Mekong Delta which represents four countries that border the Mekong River. Anyone who lived during the Vietnam War era must remember hearing repeatly on the evening news reports of so many Americans killed today along the Mekong Delta. We quickly learned that the Mekong not only runs through Vietnam but the Yunnan Province of China plus Laos and Cambodia. The first thing we watched were the Cambonese dancers and singers who sang and danced a wedding celebration. The great thing about this festival is that all the acts are straight from the country and culture they represent so these attractive young dancers and actors were from Cambodia and looked like the men and women were putting a little extra spice in this wedding dance. After watching this and checking out the Mekong culture tent where we saw Thai silk weaving and Asian wood carving we headed to the Mekong food tent where we decided on what we wanted to eat. I decided to sample the ground chicken salad from Laos with a Thai beer to share with Jack. Jack opted for the Vegan Pad Thai. The Laos salad was tasty but very very hot. (Hotter than any Mexican food I have tried!) The Pad Thai was excellent! The yellow noodles and fried tofu in the dish were so delicious!For dessert we shared a portion of fresh sliced mango with sticky rice. Very very good.
After lunch we headed to the Northern Ireland Pavilion to watch and hear Irish music and dance. Our favorite Irish group was Four Men and A Dog.
I thought the group should have been called Four Men and A Little Girl. There was a girl about eight years old who knew how to do the Irish dances
like in River Dance. She would come out and dance to the music and the men would acknowledge her presence. After this more and more people came out to try to do an Irish jig either solo or with a partner. And I never did see the dog? After this we checked out the Northern Ireland culture tents where we saw how the world famous Guinness beer is made from roasted barley and water. We also saw Irish cathderal stone carver demonstrations.
After this we headed to our own state of Virginia Pavilion and watched the Virginia Native Tribes do native dances. One of the girls wore a jingle dress that had hundreds of metal jingles sewn to the dress. This dancer told us that her dress weighed about seven pounds! Seems to me it would be hard to walk let alone dance in a dress that heavy.
Soon it was time for dinner and more Irish music so we headed to the Irish food tent and had Shepherd's Pie with a glass of Guinness before heading back to the Irish Pavilion to hear the drummers that accompany the Irish bagpipers. Finally we headed back to Haymarket at 7:30 via Metro and car.
It was so much fun. We are hoping to head back to the festival tomorrow for more good food and shows. All the shows are free so you only need money for transportaion and food. Also, this Saturday the National Museum of the American Indian is having an all day Indian Summer Showcase to coincide with the the Live Earth Concerts that will be happening all across the globe. You can look up Live Earth on the web and find out who is performing on each continent for this worldwide event. Should be a great weekend for food, fun and entertainment even though it will be very hot outside.

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