Folk and Traditional Arts Program

Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission’s mission involves both a commitment to care for the state’s most treasured lands, waters and historic places and a desire to connect all Washingtonians to their natural, cultural, and artistic heritage through memorable experiences in the parks.

Since 2004, the Folk & Traditional Arts Program has added to those memorable experiences with events in state parks by musicians, dancers, craftspeople and storytellers who represent a wide variety of old and new Washington traditions. From tribal canoe family journeys to Cinco de Mayo festivities, from fisher poetry to Ecuadorian song, from Hawaiian hula to old-time square dances, the program brings people together — some to celebrate a common heritage and some to learn about the traditions of others.

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The 2020 Folk & Traditional Arts Program season is virtual due to the continually evolving COVID-19 pandemic. All ’events’ listed below will link to virtual content. 

  1. Cultural Festivals
  2. Performance Series




May 18 Mount St. Helens 40th Eruption Anniversary Story Circle
In partnership with the Washington State History Museum, we brought together a group of Washingtonians with deep connections to the area to share their stories of Mount St. Helens before, during, and after the blast. Archived live program accessible here.
June 26-28 Skandia Midsommarfest
This year, Midsommarfest, the traditional Scandinavian spring festival, is an all virtual event. It will feature live and pre-recorded videos of folk dance, music, the raising of the Majstång (Maypole), storytelling, Nordic foods, flower crown making, crafts, and games. For more information about accessing the virtual event, visit the Facebook event page.

July-October Sundae Sermon
This year's event is fully virtual and runs from July through October. Presented by Golden Bricks Events, a series of spirited programs with a diverse set of black performers including youth, young adults and elders, black-owned vendors, artists, non-profits, and businesses. Each event will profile a Washington State Park in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area.

July 12- A Celebration of Joy profiles Lake Sammamish State Park and features musician Zoser, visual artist Sabella, conversations with Joe Thaddeus of Black People Hike, and Caroline Villanova of Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, and an interpretive talk and activity by Parks Interpretive Specialist Joy Kacorowski. Archived program accessible here.

August 9- A Celebration of Community profiles Saltwater State Park and features members of the Friends of Saltwater State Park, a trail talk by Ranger Sage Hoag, and more to be announced. 

August 23- A Celebration of LGBTQ++ profiles Dash Point State Park. Lineup to be announced. 

September 6- A Celebration of Women profiles Federation Forest State Park and features musician Gretchen Yanover, members of GirlTrek, Seattle Audobon Society, and more.

September 20- A Celebration of Activism profiles Bridle Trails State Park and features youth emcees. Lineup to be announced. 

August  Cambodian Cultural Festival
This year's virtual program series will include live and recorded traditional Cambodian music, recipe making, crafts, muay thai martial arts demonstration, children's activities and extraordinary dance performances. More information to be posted. 

August 10-15 India Independence Day Celebration
Presented by Dancing Silhouette, this virtual celebration of India Independence Day will feature dance, music, costumes, and participants of all ages. Virtual programs will be shared from August 10-15 and will feature 13 dances.

Folk & Traditional Arts Program Funders

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Learn more about the Folk & Traditional Arts Program: View a video

For more information about the Folk & Traditional Arts Program, send an email or call (360) 902-8635.