Every year about 1.5 million visitors gather on the National Mall of Washington, DC to enjoy a variety of programs offered by the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.This year Hungary will be the festival’s featured country with more than one hundred Hungarian folk artists crossing the ocean to represent the riches of“Magyar” cultural heritage.Hungarian-American organizations all across the US have joined their efforts to generously support this program. The Embassy of Hungary is deeply appreciative and grateful to the Hungarian-American community for their commitment to make the “Hungarian Heritage: Roots to Revival” event series a reality in the Nation’s capital.
A large number of volunteers have registered to guide visitors through the Hungarianprogramsand help them find the events and exhibits that will best suit their interests to learn about ourculture and heritage. As “festival-ambassadors of Hungary”,these volunteers will play a key role inensuring that all visitors have an opportunity to interact with the artists and thus benefit fully from the experience.The Embassyhighly appreciates thecommitment of these volunteersto help make the event a great success.
Several organizations representing the Hungarian-American community provided us with financial and organizational support. The Embassy of Hungarywould like to thank in particular the Hungary Initiatives Foundation, the Hungarian-American Coalition, the American-Hungarian Federation and the Hungarian-American Cultural Association for their generous support.
The Hungarian American community’s most visible contribution will be the two iconic buildings built on the Mall: the Peacock Tower and the Dance Barn. These buildings, designed by Ybl-award winning Hungarian architect József Siklósi, will form the huband meeting point of the festival andwill offeran exciting experience to visitors byproviding a venue for dance lessons. Architecturally,the Dance Barn is inspiredby the traditional dry mill, but its wooden columns are contemporary to fit the barn’snew function. The Peacock Tower is a fusion between thetraditional Hungarian peacock façade and the Chrysler building in New York, a city that is home totens of thousands of Hungarian immigrants.
These emblematic Hungarian landmarkswill serve as the central visual features and form the culmination of the festival’sarchitectural concept,which adapts contemporary Hungarian folk architecture tothe particular functional needs of the event. The shapes and choice of materials will reflect the philosophy of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival: the vibrant vitality of folk traditions and their secure place in the 21st century.
We encourage our Hungarian-American friends from across the United States to visit the festival and partake in this historic demonstrationof Hungary’s rich cultural heritage. For those who cannot join us but are interested in the events, the Embassy will give regular updates on its homepage, Facebook and Twitter.Visit Folklife.hu and follow us on twitter @HungaryFolklife.