By Camila Rondon
A small slice of Peru has come to our capital. The National Mall now brims with the smells, sounds and energy that come with the traditions of Peru. This is the Smithsonian Folk life Festival, centered on the diverse culture of Perú. This festival will be up from June 24th to the 28th , as well as the 1st of July to the 5th.
Walking down the mall towards the Capital Building, you smell the aroma of charcoal chicken, listen to the sounds of musicians playing the cajon (a traditional Peruvian percussion instrument) and then you see the festival in its entirety, Perú: Pachamama. The festival can be divided in two parts: the left and the right. To the right, festival tents have been erected and filled with the traditions of Perú to explore. These tents house artisans and dancers, each with their own specialty. A variety of dances are on display from various regions in Perú, including Marinera, Danza Sarawja and Afro-Peruvian. The sounds that emanate from these tents float throughout the festival, inviting visitors to join in. Others tents carry artisans that create textiles, masks, boats, and ceramics. Visitors huddle around to watch each of these experts in their own trade demonstrate their craft. Hours can be spent in this section of the festival, marveling and examining the unique array of talent.
The left side of the festival invites visitors to sit and sample the delicacy of Peruvian cooking. Each day offers a new menu for those who enjoy new and exotic foods. In addition to the food served within the fair there are three concrete food establishments on the festival grounds representing Peruvian cuisines. These establishments come from Virginia, Maryland and DC. DC is represented by Peruvian food truck; “Peruvian Brothers”, a fan favorite since last year. The two other establishments are Kikiriki and El Carbonazo. Different menus are offered at each stand, offering sandwiches, chicken, Peruvian corn, and many more mouth-watering choices.
Scattered around the festival are different stages. There is La Juerga Stage that is located on the left hand side, the Raph Rinzler center stage, and El Hablador town square stage. Throughout the day different dances and storytelling take place on each of these stages. These live performances breathe life into this festival, giving the visitor a true glimpse of what can be experienced in Perú on special occasions.
Perú: Pachamama gives visitors a glimpse into what they can hear, see, smell, and taste in Perú. As well as giving the Peruvian population in the greater Washington DC area pride and happiness to see their traditions being enjoyed by all.
“The Perú: Pachamama program is co-sponsored by the Republic of Peru Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR) and presented in partnership with the National Park Service.”