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Smithsonian Folklife Festival

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A Visit to the Warehouse

Thirteen miles east of the National Mall, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage supply and technical crews gear up for their big move to the Mall for the Festival.  The high-ceilinged warehouse is busy as the crew finishes up construction projects and final touches on props and stages that will set the atmosphere within each featured Festival program.

Earlier this week, the production and the program teams for Hungarian Heritage, The Will to Adorn, and One World, Many Voices, piled into a van and headed to Lanham, Maryland, 700_2012-07-09 15.57.26to touch base with the warehouse crew. We were greeted with welcoming hellos from the supply and tech staff and enormous smiles from the two interns, Michaela Wright and Aimee Becker, who were splattered, ponytail to sneaker, with royal blue paint.

The program coordinators went to work calling “dibs!” on everything from benches to craft supplies to one extra-large ladle for Hungarian Goulash.

Meanwhile, shop foreman Tyler Nelson worked with the team of five Hungarian carpenters to put aside lumber for the Hungarian Dance Barn and Hungarian Tower, which will soon be built and installed on the National Mall.
Just touching down in the States a few days ago,
these five Hungarian men do not speak any English.

Photos by Jason M. Morris

Photos by Jason M. Morris

Luckily Zsuzsa Cselenyi, program coordinator for the Hungarian Heritage program, was there to translate for Tyler and the carpenters as they discussed dimensions, decorations, and deadlines. We left the warehouse knowing we’d see the supply/tech teams soon.  As the lingering scent of wet paint dries up and the last few woodchips get swept away, the crew is Mall-bound with a mission to make this Festival the best one yet!

Denise Barstow is a Festival production intern.  She is studying recreation management and policy at the University of New Hampshire and is the director of the UNH Campus Activities Board. 

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