Folklife Festivals

Folklife Festivals

The Northwest Folklife Festival is a four-day event that occurs at Seattle Center each year over Memorial Day Weekend. This free festival draws people from all over the region to come and watch performances of all types and to learn about the cultures behind all of the art and artists.

During the annual Folklife Festival there are about 6,000 performers that come to be a part of the official festival, while the paths are lined with buskers and street performers from around the area. Due to the free admission, many people attend the event simply to enjoy the outdoors during one of the first weekends of summer, so the festival creates a very casual atmosphere. You can find residents and tourists here enjoying the sunshine in any number of ways, whether by kicking off their shoes and dancing to the drum circle or laying in the sun by the whale statues, watching small children run through the International Fountain, creating an impromptu water park.

The Folklife Festival, or just Folklife, as it is known, was conceived by the National Parks Service as a way to draw the culture and folk-ways of the entire region (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montanta) into one event and demonstrate those arts to the majority of the population, which is urban. Since then, the Folklife Festival has changed organizing hands a few times, and of course grown a lot. Few people attending probably even know the origins of the festival, but that doesn’t stop them from enjoying their time in attendance.

Throughout the festival a variety of vendors set up stalls selling everything from handmade clothing to odd collectibles, from works of high quality art to paintings made by homeless people. Whatever you might actually be interested in doing or buying at the Folklife Festival is really a secondary consideration, as most everyone is there to watch the amazing array of artists, people and strange things that collect so randomly at Seattle Center on Memorial Day weekend.

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