26th Annual Lowell Folk Festival a huge success
This year's “Mardi Gras of Lowell” drew large crowds
The Lowell Folk Festival took place during the last weekend of July. This year, the festival kicked off with a parade, music and ethnic foods on Friday July 27th and continued until Sunday July 29th.
The festival is held at six different stages as well as several closed off streets throughout downtown Lowell, Massachussetts.
According to the festival website, “With six performance stages, some folks settle in for an afternoon or evening at one stage. Others move around to according to the schedule to experience the various venues, performances, and audiences. There are sunny and shaded stages, and there will be smiling faces all around. With a Family Activities Area, Crafts Demonstrations, savory ethnic foods, and so much more, everyone enjoys it their way.”
The festival started Friday evening with a dance parade at 6:00pm followed by concerts at the Boarding House Park Stage and the Tsongas Arena Dance Stage from 7:00 to 10:00pm. On Saturday and Sunday, a variety of performers occupied six different stages from noon until late in the evening.
This years performers included "Pan" Franek Zosia and the Polka Towners, Benjamin the Juggling Clown, Brewster Bayside Skippers, Davell Crawford, Denis Pépin and Susie Lemay, Feufollet, Hula Halau 'o Keikiali'I, Imamyar Hasanov & Pejman Hadadi, J.P. Harris and the Tough Choices, Joan Soriano, Jones Benally Family Dancers, Jorge Arce Comparsa Boricua, Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto Lúnasa, Magic Slim & The Teardrops, Michael Winograd & The Klezmer Orchestra International, Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi, Quarteto Olinda, Richmond & Scalise, Riley Baugus & Kirk Sutphin, Sophia Bilides, The Claire Lynch Band, The Ethel Caffie - Austin Singers, The Jim Show and Zhentian Zhang.
The Lowell Folk Festival boasts a multitude of ethnic foods that draw people from all over the country to have a taste. “Non-profit ethnic organizations, mostly local, come together to prepare and sell the foods of their heritage. Their proceeds benefit numerous worthy projects and programs.”
Over the course of three days, delicious foods from every culture was served to hungry guests including Armenian, Thai, American, Liberian, Greek, Brazillian, Pilipino, Middle Eastern, Israeli, Asian, Spanish, Portuguese, Jamaican, Indian, Irish, Italian and much more.
After grabbing a bite to eat, guests had their choice of fun activities to do. While many chose to listen to the variety of music or walk around the surrounding area with their pets, some chose to attend the craft fairs. “This year's folk craft area featured the work of traditional artists who crafted a variety of items to protect and adorn the head and the feet. Using an array of materials, techniques, and styles, each craftsperson worked within well-established traditions.”
Guests were able to witness the Hat Ladies of St. Peter's Fiesta fashion fanciful hats in honor of the patron saint of fishermen for Gloucester's annual celebration, see pre-Lenten traditions of Caribbean carnival headdresses and Puerto Rican vejigante masks, learn about the centuries old traditions of Lithuanian head garlands for Midsummer and Hungarian beaded maiden crowns for ceremonial occasions, see how fashion and modesty combine in Islamic head coverings, watch a Boston shoe builder work with shoe lasts and leather to create shoes or even talk to a neighborhood cobbler.
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