If you are planning to come with children to the event, there are a number of activities that may be of special interest:
1) Stop by the PASSPORT CENTER (U.S. State Department) booth in the Community Matters area and pick up a “Cultural Discovery” passport — full of activities and educational insights about the culture of the Southwest. The passports will also be available at the Folk Arts tables (where traditional artists will be demonstrating their art) and at the booth of Southwest Folklife Alliance.
2) A firetruck will be on site — part of a special program we call “The Lore of Firefighting” — approach any of the firefighters on site; pick up “prompt” questions you can ask them about the kinds of foods, rituals, songs, superstitions, games, stories, nicknames that firefighters share with each other (we call that the “folklore” of their occupation)
3) A car show of cars dating before 1960 will be on display — two clubs are putting the show together: Dukes Car Club and Old Memory. Members of these clubs (and owners of the cars) will be on hand to answer any questions; ask them first before getting inside any vehicle (s0me will say it is OK, but others may prefer you don’t go in). Some of the car owners may also be displaying “lowrider bicycles” made by their own kids.
4) Check the schedule of performances for the Main Stage as well as the Folklife Pavillion — some of the presenters will have activities that kids will love and others that will lend themselves perfect for an educational opportunity (i.e. the Chinese lion dance; Brazilian “capoeira” – a form of martial arts set to music; other kinds of martial arts; pin-pong demonstrations; sign-language songs; mariachi and Mexican folk dancers, etc.)
5) Visit the tables of the Folk Arts masters, demonstrations of traditional arts and crafts. Many of the demonstrators offer activities for the kids — try Mexican paper flowers, for example, or reata (rope) making by a true and original cowboy (who is also a Vet).
All in all, the event should offer an opportunity for kids and children to discover the living cultures of their community and hopefully learn a bit about mutual respect. We encourage all parents and guardians to also USE the opportunity of seeing others put their folklore and traditions on display to discuss within your own families: what is your folklore? what kinds of activities, words and objects bind your own unit together as a meaningful group that values each other?
p.s. Oh, yes, we are just reminded that on Sunday at 2pm UA Guest Folklorist Nic Hartmann will facilitate a session exactly on this topic (Family Folklore: what is it? how can you get it?)