Embrace our ethnic diversity and cultivate a deeper understanding of the cultures that contribute to the vibrancy of our region at Seattle Center Festál. The “Love, Peace and Understanding” theme for 2019 is woven throughout 24 free, ethnic cultural festivals. In a time of divisive national rhetoric, Festál celebrates our shared humanity to build connections, tear down stereotypes and create trust.
Entering its 22 year, Festál offers an opportunity for communities to gather and share deeply rooted traditions and contemporary influences with the greater Seattle area through live music, dance, visual exploration, literature, film, workshops, demonstrations, hands-on learning and play for kids and adults. Many festivals also feature authentic foods and goods available for purchase.
Newly added this year is the “Alaska Airlines Fly Away Giveaway.” Guests who obtain a passport inside the Armory and collect stamps by attending festivals can be entered to win two round-trip airfare tickets to any Alaska Airlines destination. Each stamp is an entry to win; the more Festál events attended and stamps collected, the higher the odds of winning! More information at seattlecenter.com/festal.
Here are the festivals in the 2019 series:
Têt in Seattle – Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 26 – 27
Inviting the community to a celebration of the lunar new year with lion dances, firecrackers, martial arts, dance and visual arts. tetinseattle.org
Irish Festival, Saturday and Sunday, March 16 – 17
Highlighting the Irish heritage of the Pacific Northwest with traditional music, step-dancing, art exhibits, genealogy workshops and Celtic handcrafts. irishclub.org
Seattle’s French Fest: A Celebration of French-Speaking Cultures, Sunday, March 24
Celebrating the place of French language, culture and joie de vivre in over 30 countries worldwide with francophone fashion, fine cuisine, wine tastings and a wide array of musical performances. fenpnw.org
Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival, Saturday and Sunday, April 26 – 28
Underscoring the deep friendship between Seattle and Japan as it honors the renewal of life with springtime cherry blossoms, booming Taiko drums, contemporary Japanese arts and a traditional tea ceremony. cherryblossomfest.org
Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration, Sunday, May 5
Recognizing Seattle’s strong ties with Asia and the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in our region through culturally influenced music and dance and a celebrity hum bow eating contest. apiheritage.com
A Glimpse of China – Chinese Culture & Arts Festival, Saturday, May 18
Illuminating the colorful and ancient palette of Chinese arts with dance, painting, calligraphy, workshops and martial arts. chinaartandculture.org
Northwest Folklife Festival, Memorial Day weekend, May 24 – 27
Weaving a cultural tapestry of art and music for all to enjoy at this packed, participatory four-day community-wide celebration. nwfolklife.org
Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival, Saturday and Sunday, June 1 – 2
Observing Phillippine independence from colonial rule and the strength of Filipino identity and imagination through art exhibits, songs, spoken word, films and martial arts. festalpagdiriwang.com
Indigenous People Festival, Saturday, June 8
Instilling better understanding for American Indian and Alaska Native tribes in the Pacific Northwest through a blending of traditional and contemporary music, dance, drama and arts. sihb.org
Festival Sundiata presents Black Arts Fest, Saturday and Sunday, June 15 – 16
Sharing the profound stories of African Americans through an entertainment-packed weekend featuring hip hop, dance, gosepl, visual arts, soul food, exhibits and a marketplace. festivalsundiata.org
Iranian Festival, Saturday, June 22
Deepening community and understanding for the rich cultures of Iran with Persian poetry, tea, modern music and and traditional dance. iaca-seattle.org
Spirit of Africa, Saturday, June 29
Fostering greater inclusivity, awareness and appreciation for the varied traditions of music, movement and storytelling of the African diaspora. thespiritofafrica.org
Polish Festival Seattle, Saturday, July 13
Promoting Polish heritage and presence in our region through a lively day of traditional foods, exhibits, workshops, vodka tastings and a beer garden. polishfestivalseattle.org
Seattle Arab Festival, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 10 – 11
Highlighting the sights, sounds and tastes of 22 Arab nations with henna dying, live music, calligraphy, coffee, cooking and folk dancing reflective of the varied Arabian cultures. seattlecenter.com/festal
BrasilFest, Sunday, Aug. 18
Uniting traditional and contemporary Brazilian drumming, dance, music, visual arts, capoeira and celebration during the week of Brazilian Folkore Day. brasilfest.org
Tibet Fest, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 24 – 25
Bestowing messages of love, compassion and kindness through a fusion of ancient and new Tibetan arts and culture to engage, entertain and educate. washingtontibet.org
Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival, Sunday, Sept. 8
Cultivating passion and appreciation for Hawaiian culture with BBQ and poke, hands-on workshops, island music and dance and a marketplace. seattlelivealohafestival.com
Seattle Fiestas Patrias, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 14 – 15
Commemorating Latin American independence with art and craft displays, dancing horses, mariachi bands, folk dancers and tantalizing, time-honored foods.
The Italian Festival, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28 – 29
Offering a spotlight on this inventive nation with food and wine, music and musings – and spirit that is uniquely Italian. festaseattle.com
CroatiaFest, Sunday, Oct. 6
Preserving the customs and creativity of Croatian culture with musical ensembles, colorful dress, savories and sweets and imported goods. croatiafest.org
Turkfest, Saturday and Sunday, Oct 19 – 20
Integrating Eastern and Western influences through Turkish arts and expression, textile displays, workshops and rich cuisine. turkfest.org
Diwali: Lights of India, Saturday, Oct. 26
Inspiring a day of joyful celebration that marks the Indian festival of light with art workshops, succulent foods, henna tatooing, folk dancing and more.
Dia de Muertos – A Mexican Celebration to Remember Our Departed, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 – 3
Honoring the departed in a celebration steeped in ritual and tradition through elaborate community altars, sugar skull making, processions and festive music.
Hmong New Year Celebration, Saturday, Nov. 9
Marking the end of the harvest season and the coming of a new year for this deeply rooted Asian highland culture with ornate clothing, traditional dances, visual arts and ball-tossing competitions. hmongofwa.org
Seattle Center Festál is a public program presented by Seattle Center. Admission is free-of-charge. For more information on this collection of ethnic cultural events and other Seattle Center public programming, visit www.seattlecenter.com or call 206-684-7200.
About Seattle Center Festál
This illuminating series of 24 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, Lyft, 4Culture, the City of Seattle and Seattle Center Foundation.