Correction to This Article
The article misstated the date of Festa Italiana DC. The event will be Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., not today.

2009 Washington Area Ethnic Festivals: Wales, Mongolia, Peru, Italy, Cambodia

By Alex Baldinger
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 26, 2009

How easy is it to travel the world this summer? Very. Best of all, you won't need to use a year's worth of vacation days or come up with thousands of dollars to do it.

Beginning with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Washington region is home to more than a dozen cultural festivals between now and Labor Day, and each one offers a chance to experience the sights, music and flavors of an array of countries, without so much as a passport.

"We hope that's what the festival does, that it gives you the opportunity to see and to hear about a culture -- whether it's from around the world or across the street, you might not have known otherwise," says Diana Parker, the Folklife Festival's director since 1975.

Some of the area's festivals are large affairs that draw tens of thousands of visitors, while others are small but growing community events; all are eager to show you how their culture looks, sounds and tastes.

"These community events need to happen so the groups have the sea legs to be ready for larger festivals when they come up," says Chris Williams, the head of Arlington County's Heritage Arts office.

So if you've always wanted to visit the shores of the Adriatic Sea or Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple, there's a festival in the area bound to stir your spirit of wanderlust. Just let our guide to some of the summer's best destinations be your travel agent.


Today-Sunday and Wednesday-July 5 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Your journey around the world begins in Wales at the 43rd Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Don't worry, all those signs directing you to "Cymru" aren't leading you to another country's festival; Cymru (pronounced "come-ree") is the Welsh word for Wales. The language is a big part of Welsh culture, and with nearly 160 Welsh people making the trip to participate in the festival, you'll hear plenty of Welsh, along with traditional Welsh folk music and songs, and see cultural demonstrations and authentic crafts. The menu features staple Welsh foods, including Welsh stew and Glamorgan sausage, a vegetarian dish of bread, cheese, onion and egg. Wash it all down with a tasty Tomos Watkin's, an ale brewed in the Welsh city of Swansea.

The festival also celebrates the musical traditions of Latin America and the oral traditions of the African American community. Read more about the Folklife Festival.

Where: The Mall, between Jefferson Drive and 12th Street.

Info: Free admission. 202-633-7484 or

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