DC Day on the National Mall


Photo by Joe Dinoto

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival turns 50,
and it’s the Year of American Circus!

D.C. Day was July 1st, and included a tremendous showing of circus arts from Happenstance Theatre, TSNY-DC, UpSpring Studio, Sweet Spot Aerial Productions, Street Light Circus, Gymkana and SAX Lounge.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival continues through July 9th with more panel discussions, demonstrations and circus/music performances for your folkloric delight! See the full schedule here.

Here’s what happened on July 1st a.k.a. D.C. Day:

  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: D.C. Circus Showcase (Ralph Rinzler Stage) featuring artists from TSNY-DC, SAX Lounge, Gymkana, Street Light Circus and Happenstance Theater.
  • 2:45 p.m.: Finding Hope and Trust in Circus, featuring Circus District co-founder and Circus Harmony general manager, Charlotte Byram (Circus Stories Tent). Moderated by TSNY-DC manager and flying trapeze instructor Mandy Keithan
  • 3 p.m.: Contemporary Ground Arts Show (Arts and Industries Building’s West Hall) featuring Clowns Without Borders, Happenstance Theater, Street Light Circus and partner acrobatics from TSNY-DC.
  • 4 p.m.: D.C. Circus Forum (Circus Stories Tent) featuring Circus District co-founder Christian Kloc, moderated by Shay Stevens of Washington Performing Arts. The forum will be a true convergence of the DC circus minds to discuss how to connect local circus to the wider circus world.
  • 6:30 p.m.: D.C. Circus Preshow (Big Top)
  • 7 p.m.: Stars of the Circus (Big Top) Note: this is not a ‘local’ circus show, but you should see it anyway!
  • Get your juggle on at the Circus District Juggle Jam: Folklife Edition Note: This event is NOT on July 1st. It will be held Monday, July 3rd from 6-7:30 p.m. on the National Mall.



The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, established in 1967, honors contemporary living cultural traditions and celebrates those who practice and sustain them. Produced annually by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the Festival has featured participants from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

The free Festival takes place for two weeks every summer, overlapping the Fourth of July holiday. It is an educational, research-based presentation that features master artisans and other tradition bearers. They invite visitors to sing and dance along, try craft and game workshops, learn traditional recipes, ask questions, and take part in this unique cultural exchange.

Learn more at http://www.festival.si.edu/