The 13th annual Festival of American Folklife opens today with everything from medicine shows to music men.
The festival runs through Oct. 8 (but not on Sunday because of the pope's visit) on the Mall between the Washington Monument and the Smithsonian Museum of History and Technology.
There will be five separate sections of the festival with activities throughout each day. (Schedules for each day's events will be available free that day on the Mall.)
The Caribbean Carnival section of the festival features steel bands, calypso music and a fire eater, among other attractions.
The Children's Area will include a variety of craft workshops and games. The Boys Football League of Southeast Washington and the local Interplanetary Committee -- a group that creates fantasy and science-fiction complete with languages and maps -- will discuss their activities.
"Folklore in Your Community" will show working stone carvers, street hawkers selling their wares, and Vietnamese Americans displaying their crafts. There will also be narrative workshops with local taxi drivers and with members of Washington's former baseball team, the Washington Senators.
In the Medicine Show, authentic, one-time medicine show entertainers will demonstrate their selling techniques. And for Native American Architecture, members of various tribes from Montana, Oklahoma, Florida and British Columbia will build different types of living structures, including the familiar tepee.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with some Calypso events running later. An interpreter for the deaf will be available in certain sections on certain days. For more information, call 381-6264.