The Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival is an annual celebration of traditional arts, music, crafts, and foods that serves to highlight Maryland’s rich cultural heritage. This year’s festival will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2016 from noon to 8 pm at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson, 3134 Eastern Avenue in East Baltimore.
“Folklife is everyday art-the sort of tradition that helps us to connect our past, present, and future. We don’t go to school for folklife; we learn it simply by being part of a culture. The festival brings many forms of folklife together to highlight some of the traditions and cultures that make Maryland a unique and vibrant place to live,” said Chad Buterbaugh, Ph.D., Co-Director, Maryland Traditions.
Headlining the outdoor stage is legendary R&B vocalist, Winfield Parker, whose long and storied career in R&B, soul, and gospel has included collaborations with Little Richard, The Temptations, James Brown, Etta James, and Carla Thomas. Parker is a role model and mentor to generations of R&B, soul and gospel singers and musicians in Maryland and beyond.
On both the outdoor and indoor stages, performances include Afro-Cuban, Ethiopian, and Polish dance, as well as honky-tonk, African-American gospel, Nepali and klezmer musical traditions, to name just a few. There will also be an epic dance battle organized by Urban Artistry (Montgomery County) and set to the beats of DJs Karizma and Baronhawk, who are working together to carry on the tradition of Baltimore Club music.
All day long, families can engage with traditional artists and craftspeople, who will demonstrate their knowledge and skills in Chesapeake skipjack restoration, Globe poster printing, blacksmithing, Norwegian rosemaling, duck decoy carving, basketry, and Baltimore painted screens. Kid-friendly workshops include piñata making, Cambodian jewelry making, and storytelling with Mama Linda Goss, Co-Founder of the National Association of Black Storytellers.
Families will also have the chance to compete in a series of marbles tournaments, guided by expert champions of the Cumberland Marbles Team. Cumberland (Allegany County) boasts a city tournament dating back nearly a century, public marbles rings, and a strong presence in the region’s schools, where the tradition is still taught. The Cumberland region has been home to numerous national champions since the 1970s.
This year’s festival will also feature food demonstrations. Onlookers can learn how to make Polish pierogies, Lumbee collard sandwiches, Nepalese momos (dumplings), and more. Maryland food favorites will include Ethiopian coffee ceremonies demonstrated by Blessed Coffee (Montgomery County), Prigel Family Creamery ice cream (Baltimore County), Nepal House (Baltimore City), and others.
“The Folklife Festival celebrates the people and the cultural institutions that seek to preserve the past for future generations,” said MSAC Executive Director, Theresa Colvin. “Traditions bring people together, whether it’s through family customs or by passing on music and art forms from the past. MSAC is pleased to support these statewide arts organizations and individual artists and thank them for sharing their diverse talents and enriching our communities.
Presented by Maryland Traditions, the folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council, in partnership with the National Council for Traditional Arts (NCTA) and the Creative Alliance at the Patterson, the Sixth Annual Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival receives additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Access the full festival lineup, food offerings and free parking information at https://www.msac.org/folklife-festival