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Wine tastings, human towers, jazz and more: Smithsonian Folklife Festival returns to DC

Yes, you heard that right: human towers.

WASHINGTON -- With wine tastings, a marketplace, live concerts and more, the Smithsonian Folklife festival will be returning to the National Mall on Wednesday.

The festival will run from July 27 through July 1 and then again from July 4 through July 8.

This year’s festival celebrates both the culture and heritage of Armenia and Catalonia. A spokesperson for the festival, Kelly Carnes, told WUSA9 that, “the Festival is transitioning to focus on programmatic rather than geographic themes each year, and two years ago decided the time was right to produce a festival on cultural enterprises.”

Thus, when it came time to selecting the celebrated nations, Armenia was identified for its “cultural heritage enterprises” that play a crucial role in keeping Armenian culture alive.

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“Armenians in Armenia, and across it’s many diasporas recognize and continually reinvent the ways cultural heritage can have value as not just an economic enterprise, but also a way to make meaning of who they are even amidst change,” Carnes told WUSA9.

According to the Smithsonian Institute’s website, Catalonia was also identified for its “thousand-year history of social and cultural mixing [where] newcomers to the region are actively integrated into its vibrant culture.”

There’s fun and exploration for everyone at the festival that includes an expansive schedule, concerts, and a marketplace.

The marketplace not only will sell art, pottery, gifts and more from various countries, but children get a chance to take part in the art every day at 11 a.m. Master artists will also be present with their handmade art which interested festival-goers can purchase.

The #2018Folklife Festival Marketplace is being set up! These beautiful pieces of pottery are just some of the wonderful hand-crafted items that you will be able to purchase. You’ll also be able to visit the pop-up International @folkartmarket to meet jewelers, basket makers, weavers, textile designers, woodcarvers, and other artisans from over fifteen countries! You can watch their creations come to life and learn about their stories. The Marketplace is located on the south side of the @amhistorymuseum and will be open from 10:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. on June 27 to July 1 and July 4 to July 8. Come and stop by!

A post shared by Smithsonian Folklife (@smithsonianfolklife) on

Meanwhile, the schedule is jam packed with something for everybody: Most mornings open up with a morning coffee ceremony, followed by from dance workshops, calligraphy classes, glassmaking, tastings, and language classes.

After the sessions conclude at 6 p.m., have a picnic and enjoy a daily concert on the National Mall at 6:30 p.m. Artists from Catalonia and Armenia as well as local artists will be performing.

Overwhelmed with the choices? For Carnes, she says some of the must-sees include: the Human Towers from Catalonia, the Armenian Jazz performances, and the wine tasting events in the Marketplace.

(Yes, Human Towers. According to the schedule, they’ll taking place the last weekend of the festival)

If you’re just as excited as we are, the full schedule is here.

The festival hours are from 11:30 – 6 p.m., followed by the evening concerts.

The closest Metro stops are L’Enfant Plaza, National Archives and Federal Triangle. Visitors with disabilities can check out this page for accommodations.