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Folklife Festival Begins On National Mall

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Visitors and participants take part in a procession out to the Spring Festival Ground where the closing ceremony for the 2007 Smithsonian Folklife Festival was to be held.
Richard Strauss, Smithsonian Institution
Visitors and participants take part in a procession out to the Spring Festival Ground where the closing ceremony for the 2007 Smithsonian Folklife Festival was to be held.

The 46th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival starts today on the National Mall. It is the nation's premier outdoor cultural event, with arts, crafts and educational opportunities for young and old alike.

This year's festival focuses on three themes: Campus and Community, Creativity and Crisis, and "Citified." It runs each day through this Sunday, then takes a break for a couple of days before continuing next Wednesday through Sunday July 8.

The "Citified" portion of the festival focuses on Arts and Creativity East of the Anacostia River. And on July 7, the festival will pay tribute to D.C. Go Go legend Chuck Brown, who died last month.

"Creativity and Crisis," meanwhile, features the 25th anniversary of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, embodying the loss and hope it symbolizes for millions of Americans. Festival visitors will have the opportunity to make quilt panels.

The "Campus and Community" section commemorates the 150th anniversary of the founding of land-grant universities and the USDA. A dozen campuses are represented, including the University of Maryland the University of the District of Columbia.

Tonight, there will be a free performance of Bring Back the Funk, featuring George Clinton.

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