Seattle Center Festál presents 23 ethnic cultural festivals in 2018. The year’s theme, “Generations,” highlights the bonds between generations that foster identity, respect and honor. It is especially relevant in 2018, when Festál celebrates its 21st year. As the series comes of age, festival producers seek to sustain their festivals with compelling programming that appeals to multiple generations, and they are looking to younger members of their communities to take on the telling their stories.
The Festál series brings to light the culturally rich communities who shape the character of our region. Some festivals were formed in response to war or ethnic displacement and others to unite their communities, educate the public and dispel stereotypes. For many of them, Seattle Center serves as a central place, where they can share their culture and build community through live music, dance, visual exploration, literature, film, workshops, demonstrations and hands-on learning and play for kids and adults. The festivals also feature authentic foods for purchase and ethnic marketplaces.
Here are the festivals in 2018 series:
Têt in Seattle–Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 10-11, Seattle Center Armory and Fisher Pavilion: celebrating the traditional new year with lions, firecrackers, martial arts, dance and visual arts. tetinseattle.org
Irish Festival, Saturday and Sunday, March 17-18, Armory: honoring the region’s Irish heritage with jigs, genealogy, music and discovery. www.irishclub.org
Seattle’s French Fest: A Celebration of French-Speaking Cultures, Sunday, March 25, Armory: highlighting the world’s French speaking cultures, their influences and arts. fenpnw.org
Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival, Saturday and Sunday, April 20-22, Armory, Fisher Pavilion and Seattle Center Pavilion: welcoming springtime and honoring U.S.-Japanese friendship through imaginative programming and visual arts.cherryblossomfest.org
Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration, Sunday, May 6, Armory: showcasing the heritage and diversity of the region’s rich API presence at a youthful and lively festival. apiheritage.com
Spirit of Africa, Saturday, May 12, Armory: sharing the spirit and talents of African musicians, dancers and artists from our region and beyond. thiondiop.com
A Glimpse of China–Chinese Culture & Arts Festival, Saturday, May 19, Armory and Mural Amphitheatre: offering a glimpse into the creativity, traditions and culinary skills of this ancient and artful culture. chinaartandculture.org
Northwest Folklife Festival, May 25-28, throughout the grounds: exploring multicultural arts and creativity at a huge, high spirited, hands-on community gathering. nwfolklife.org
Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival, Saturday and Sunday, June 2-3, Armory, Mural Amphitheatre and Fisher Roof: marking the Filipino Independence Day with arts, fashion, film, cultural games and much more. festalpagdiriwang.com
Spirit of Indigenous People, Saturday, June 9, Armory and Mural Amphitheatre: building understanding of traditional and contemporary North American Native life. aihb.org
Festival Sundiata presents Black Arts Fest, Saturday and Sunday, June 16-17: providing a stage to share African-American heritage, inspiration and arts with the broader community. www.festivalsundiata.org
Polish Festival Seattle, Saturday, July 7, Armory, Mural Amphitheatre and Fisher Roof: highlighting the creativity and contributions of Seattle’s long established Polish community. polishfestivalseattle.org
Iranian Festival, Saturday, August 11, Armory, Fisher Pavilion and Mural Amphitheatre: engaging the community in this artistically opulent and expressive culture as it enriches and entertains.
BrasilFest, Sunday, August 19, Armory, Mural Amphitheatre and Fisher Roof: introducing the broader community to the arts and dynamisim of South America’s most multiculture, multi-ethnic nation. brasilfest.org
Tibet Fest, Saturday and Sunday, August 25-26, Armory and Fisher Roof: promoting a distinct religious and cultural heritage, while involving and educating younger Tibetan generations. washingtontibet.org
Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival, Sunday, Sept. 9, Armory, Mural Amphitheatre and Fisher Roof: attracting enthusiastic crowds with Hawaiian spirit and hands-on learnings. seattlelivealohafestival.com
Seattle Fiestas Patrias, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15-16, Armory, Fisher Pavilion and Seattle Center Pavilion: observing Latin American independence in ways that remind us all of the indomitable spirit of freedom. seattlefiestaspatrias.org
The Italian Festival, Saturday and Sunday, Sept; 29-30, Armory, Fisher Pavilion and Seattle Center Pavilion: underscoring the culture’s influences, achievements and culinary expression in our region and around the world. festaseattle.com
CroatiaFest, Sunday, Oct. 7, Armory: calling attention to the rich heritage of Croatia and its cultural presence in our region. croatiafest.org
Turkfest, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13-14, Armory and Fisher Rooftop: marking the extraordinary arts and expression of a culture infused with eastern and western influences. turkfest.org
Diwali: Lights of India, Saturday, Oct. 20, Armory: brilliantly celebrating light over darkness, good over evil and the place Indian cultures in our region. facebook.com/vccfestivals
Dia de Muertos – A Mexican Celebration to Remember Our Departed, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 27-28, Armory: keeping deeply spiritual traditions alive with elaborate altars, face painting, sugar skulls and processions. diademuertosenseattle.org
Hmong New Year Celebration, Saturday, Nov. 3, Armory: preserving ancient Southeast Asian highland cultures with this multigenerational harvest festival. hmongfwa.org
Seattle Center Festál is a Seattle Center public program. Admission is free-of-charge. For more information on this collection of ethnic cultural events and other public programming at Seattle Center, visit www.seattlecenter.com or call 206-684-7200.
About Seattle Center Festál
This illuminating series of 23 ethnic cultural festivals on weekends throughout the year seeks to connect people in ways that build understanding, dispel stereotypes and generate pride among the generations who participate in these shared experiences. Seattle Center Festál is produced with the generous support of KUOW 94.9 Public Radio, Coca-Cola, Alaska Airlines, T-Mobile, 4Culture, the City of Seattle and Seattle Center Foundation.