In 2017, Seattle Center Festál celebrates 20 years of global music, dance, art, crafts, history, food and insight presented through a unique partnership among community organizations on weekends throughout the year. This illuminating series of 24 ethnic cultural festivals seeks to connect people in ways that build understanding, dispel stereotypes and generate pride among the generations who participate in these shared experiences.
The 20th anniversary year celebrates the fact that we are a nation of immigrant, indigenous and ethnic cultures. These groups contribute in many meaningful ways to the character of the Pacific Northwest. Festál provides a stage and platform for their traditions, accomplishments and artistic expression. The series forms the bedrock of the free, public programming at Seattle Center, captivating and enlightening festival-goers as they experience the distinct cultures that shape the course of our broader community.
Seattle Center Festál is planning several new programs and initiatives in recognition of its 20th Anniversary year including: a kick-off party, Festál Turns 20 Fête, Sunday, Jan. 15, in Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center; a special cookbook, Gathering Around the Table, featuring recipes from each of the festivals; and curated food demonstrations at each Festál event. Northwest Folklife features Festál as its Cultural Focus during 2017, and Festál is partnering with Seattle Public Library, Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), Downtown Seattle Association and others to introduce components of the series to audiences beyond Seattle Center.
Following is information on the 2017 Seattle Center Festál series:
Seattle Center Festál: Tet Festival - Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday & Sunday, Jan. 21-22, Seattle Center Armory and Fisher Pavilion. Tet Festival launches the annual Festál series each year. Fiery dragons preserve ancient rituals, while martial arts, dance and visual arts unite the Vietnamese community and introduce its unique culture to the region.
Seattle Center Festál: Irish Festival, Saturday & Sunday, March 11-12, Armory. The centerpiece of weeklong festivities in celebration of St. Patrick's Day, Irish Festival draws in our broad community and welcomes official Irish visitors to participate in jigs, genealogy, dance and drumming that enliven Irish culture and heritage in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more at: www.irishclub.org.
Seattle Center Festál: Seattle's French Fest: A Celebration of French-Speaking Cultures, Sunday, March 19, Armory. Originally a celebration of French Independence Day, organizers expanded the event in 2013 to include the larger French-speaking world. They also moved the Fest to the third weekend in March to correspond with Francophone Day - and to encourage student participation. Learn more at: www.fenpnw.org.
Seattle Center Festál: Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, April 21-23, Armory, Fisher Pavilion and Seattle Center Pavilion. One of the longest running Festál events commemorates the long friendship between the people of Japan and Washington state and serves as a harbinger of springtime at the Center. Imaginative programming over the years and stunning visual arts attract large and appreciative audiences. Learn more at: www.cherryblossomfest.org.
Seattle Center Festál: Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration, Sunday, May 7, Armory. Asian student coalitions founded the festival to showcase the region's rich API heritage and diversity. Today the Celebration launches a congressionally designated heritage month with Lion dances, live music and expressive art forms exploring Cambodian, Thai, Lao, Filipino and Tongan civilizations. Learn more at: www.apiheritage.com.
Seattle Center Festál: Spirit of Africa, Saturday, May 13, Armory. Founded and produced by a local Senegalese griot musician, the festival showcases the talents of African musicians, dancers and artists in the region and from around the country to celebrate the rich culture heritage initially of West African - and now all African - people. Learn more at: www.thiondiop.com.
Seattle Center Festál: A Glimpse of China - Chinese Culture and Arts Festival, Saturday, May 20, Armory. The festival has grown into an important platform for local community artists. Tasty Chinese foods, artwork, crafts and tea tastings, along with traditional dance, painting and calligraphy, allow visitors of all ages to engage directly with this ancient culture. Learn more at: www.chinaartandculture.org.
Northwest Folklife Festival, Friday-Monday, May 26-29, throughout the grounds. This beloved Northwest tradition, marking the true start of summer in Seattle, evolves with the region's cultural landscape as it explores multicultural arts through lively music, dance, storytelling and crafts. In 2017, Folklife proudly presents Seattle Center Festál as its cultural focus throughout the year. Learn more at: www.nwfolklife.org.
Seattle Center Festál: Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival, Saturday & Sunday, June 3-4, Armory and Mural Amphitheatre. This Independence Day festival has evolved and expanded over the decades. When it began in 1987, it focused on traditional songs and dances. Soon it presented fashion, foods and youth drill teams, then added cultural games, craft activities and contemporary music, art and literature. Learn more at: www.festalpagdiriwang.com.
Seattle Center Festál: Festival Sundiata - Black Arts Fest, Saturday & Sunday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m., June 10-11, Armory, Mural Amphitheatre and Fisher Roof. Launched in 1981 to gather African Americans for a heritage celebration, the festival provides a venue for the community to share culture with everyone who joins in the packed weekend's activities and entertainment. Learn more at: www.festivalsundiata.org.
Seattle Center Festál: Spirit of Indigenous People, Saturday, June 24, Armory and Mural Amphitheatre. This spirited, brilliantly colorful festival joined the Festál series in 2011. With a focus on traditional and contemporary music, dance, arts and crafts, festival organizers seek to build better understanding and regard for Natives as the indigenous people of North America. Learn more at: www.sihb.org.
Seattle Center Festál: Polish Festival, Saturday, July 8, Armory and Mural Amphitheatre. Seattle's long established Polish community, seeking to broaden its reach, joined Festál in 2012 with a joyful celebration that features authentic food and drink, live music and dance, exhibits, workshops, local merchants and children's activities that highlight Polish traditions and contemporary achievements. Learn more at: www.polishfestivalseattle.org.
Seattle Center Festál: Arab Festival, Saturday & Sunday, July 15-16, Armory, Fisher Pavilion and Mural Amphitheatre. Brought together following the first Persian Gulf War, festival organizers sought to showcase Arab culture and arts to increase understanding in the broader community. Today the festival vividly highlights the cultural roots and current influences of the Arab world. Learn more at: www.arabcenterwa.org.
Seattle Center Festál: Iranian Festival, Saturday, August 12, Armory. Dedicated to cultural awareness and education, festival organizers seek to build bridges within and between communities. Underscoring a history of 'unity in diversity,' festival performances, poetry, face painting and authentic cuisine provide a glimpse into this artistically opulent and expressive culture. Learn more at: www.iaca-seattle.org.
Seattle Center Festál: BrasilFest, Sunday, August 20, Armory, Mural Amphitheatre and Fisher Roof. Brazilian immigrants brought this high-energy festival to Seattle with a mission of introducing the broader community to their arts and traditions at the time of Brazilian Folklore Day. The dynamic event also provides a platform for contemporary Brazilian cultural expressions. Learn more at: www.brasilfest.com.
Seattle Center Festál: Tibet Fest, Saturday & Sunday, August 26-27, Armory and Fisher Rooftop. Aspiring to promote the distinct religious and cultural heritage of their people, festival organizers share Tibetan history and arts - along with messages of love, compassion and kindness - to entertain, engage and educate younger Tibetan generations and people of their adopted country. Learn more at: www.washingtontibet.org.
Seattle Center Festál: Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival, Sunday, Sept. 10, Armory, Mural Amphitheatre and Fisher Roof. This popular event attracts enthusiastic crowds with Hawaiian music, foods and hands-on learning. Festival organizers hope to dispel stereotypes, present a glimpse into their rich history and provide a sense of belonging to ex-Hawaiian islanders now living in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more at: www.seattlelivealohafestival.com.
Seattle Center Festál: Seattle Fiestas Patrias, Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 16-17, Armory, Fisher Pavilion and Seattle Center Pavilion. México and several Latin American countries observe their independence in September, in much the same way Americans do on the 4th of July. The fiestas bring Latinos together for the music, dance, food and fun of their homelands, reminding us all that the spirit of freedom is indomitable. Learn more at: www.seattlefiestaspatrias.org.
Seattle Center Festál: The Italian Festival, Saturday & Sunday, Sept. 23-24, Armory, Fisher Pavilion and Seattle Center Pavilion. The festival began in 1988 as a five-year quincentennial celebration of the Columbus voyages to the New World. However, the Italian community insisted that the annual effort continue. Today the hugely popular two-day event features plentiful music, food, displays and delight, Italian-style. Learn more at: www.festaseattle.com.
Seattle Center Festál: CroatiaFest, Sunday, Oct. 1, Armory. This larger-than-life celebration presents the rich heritage of a small European country. The festival seeks to underscore the presence and influence of 40,000 people with Croatian ancestry living in our region with a day of exceptional programming, thoughtful exhibits and illuminating activities. Learn more at: www.croatiafest.org.
Seattle Center Festál: TurkFest, Saturday & Sunday, Oct. 14-15, Armory. Created in 2001 by a group of dedicated Turkish-American volunteers desiring to highlight the diversity and richness of Turkish culture, TurkFest presents traditional and contemporary performances, brilliant art and textile exhibits, film, children's activities, succulent foods and fun workshops. Learn more at: www.turkfest.org.
Seattle Center Festál: Diwali: Lights of India, Saturday, Oct. 21, Armory. The newest member of the Festál series recognizes the Indian festival of Diwali with luminous light and color. Its team of volunteers works with great joy and concerted effort to promote the brilliance of Vedic culture through authentic foods, Indian arts, dance and music. Learn more at: www.facebook.com/vccfestivals.
Seattle Center Festál: Dia de Muertos - A Mexican Celebration to Remember Our Departed, Saturday & Sunday, Oct. 28-29, Armory. Started in South Park by elders hoping to counter the influence of gangs on their grandchildren, this deeply spiritual celebration soon outgrew its venue and moved to Seattle Center. Today elaborate altars, colorful face painting, sugar skulls and processions keep the tradition alive. Learn more at: www.diademuertosenseattle/festal.
Seattle Center Festál: Hmong New Year, Saturday, Nov. 4, Armory. This multi-generational harvest festival - now entering its fourth decade - seeks to preserve, promote and share its ethnic culture with the broader community as it showcases the intricate needlework, impressive clothing patterns, music, dance and long rooted traditions of the Hmong people. Learn more at: www.hmongofwa.org.
Seattle Center Festál is a program of Seattle Center Productions. Admission is free-of-charge. For more information on this collection of ethnic cultural events and other Seattle Center public programming, visit www.seattlecenter.com or call 206-684-7200.
About Seattle Center Festál
Seattle Center Festál 2017 celebrates 20 years of a unique and inspiring partnership highlighting the diverse cultures and common threads of ethnic communities in our region. The Festál series of 24 ethnic cultural festivals makes use of Seattle Center resources and facilities to share traditional and contemporary art and music, foods, youth activities, workshops, marketplaces and more with the broader community. Seattle Center Festál is produced with the generous support of Wells Fargo, KUOW 94.9 Public Radio, Coca-Cola, Alaska Airlines and T-Mobile.
Additional support is provided by the City of Seattle and Seattle Center Foundation.
Courtesy of Seattle Center Festál
Share on Facebook
Share on Delicious
Share on StumbleUpon!