The Smithsonian Institution's 19th annual Festival of American Folklife opens today, with this year's themes of "Mela! An Indian Fair," "The Folk Traditions of Louisiana" and "Cultural Conservation."

The festival runs through Sunday, and continues July 3-7. Admission-free events are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 5:30 daily, with nightly dance parties from 5:30 to 7:30, except July 4.

The outdoor event takes place under tents and on stages set up on the Mall between 10th and 14th streets NW.

In addition to the regularly scheduled musical presentations and lectures, the festival features a variety of traditional food and crafts as well as demonstrations, including kite making, juggling, Kmhmu blacksmithing, Puerto Rican mask making and hide tanning.

For further information, call 357-2700.

Today's festival highlights include:

11 -- Baul Devotional Song (Sound Stage).

11:20 -- Punjabi Folk Song & Dance (Sound Stage).

11:30 -- St. Landry Playboys (Metro Stage). -- Hayride String Band (14th Street Stage).

11:40 -- Folk Songs from Bengal & Northeast India (Sound Stage).

Noon -- Hispanic Music from New Mexico (Main Stage). -- Mayan Indian Culture in Guatemala (Discussion Area).

12:15 -- The Ott Family (Metro Stage). -- Old-time Cajun Band (14th Street Stage).

12:30 -- Appalachian Ballads (Main Stage). -- Conserving Occupational Culture: Western Cowboys (Discussion Area).

12:40 -- Gujarati Folk Song & Dance (Sound Stage).

1 -- Brownie Ford (Metro Stage). -- Black Gospel Quartet (Main Stage).

1:15 -- Hezekiah & the Houserockers (14th Street Stage). -- Kmhmu Refugees from Laos (Discussion Area).

1:20 -- Baul Devotional Song (Sound Stage).

1:30 -- Cowboy Songs, Stories & Poetry (Main Stage). -- Silas Hogan & "Guitar" Kelly (Metro Stage).

1:40 -- Punjabi Folk Song & Dance (Sound Stage).

1:45 -- Conserving Ethnic Traditions: Irish Music (Discussion Area).

2 -- Folk Songs from Bengal & Northeast India (Sound Stage). -- Henry Gray (14th Street Stage).

2:15 -- Cajun Music (Main Stage). -- Zion Travellers (Metro Stage).

2:30 -- Federal Cylinder Project (Discussion Area).

2:45 -- Young Tuxedo Brass (14th Street Stage).

3 -- Mayan Indian Marimba Music (Main Stage). -- Black Singing Styles: Gospel Quartet (Discussion Area). -- Hezekiah & the Houserockers (Metro Stage). -- Gujarati Folk Song & Dance (Sound Stage).

3:30 -- Kmhmu Music, Song & Dance (Main Stage). -- Old-time Creole Trio (14th Street Stage).

3:40 -- Baul Devotional Song (Sound Stage).

3:45 -- Hayride String Band (Metro Stage). -- Regional Traditions: Appalachian Balladry (Discussion Area).

4 -- Blues (Main Stage). -- Punjabi Folk Song & Dance (Sound Stage).

4:15 -- White Cloud Hunters (Metro Stage). -- The Ott Family (14th Street Stage).

4:20 -- Indian Percussionists (Sound Stage).

4:30 -- Conserving American Indian Culture (Discussion Area).

4:40 -- Indian Folk Theater (Sound Stage).

4:45 -- Irish-American Music (Main Stage). -- St. Landry Playboys (14th Street Stage).

5 -- Young Tuxedo Brass (Metro Stage).

5:30 -- Dance Parties (Main, Metro and 14th Street stages).