Seattle Center hosts eight post-Labor ethnic cultural festivals, part of the Seattle Center Festál series, starting with the Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festal, Sunday Sept. 9 and wrapping up the 2018 series with Hmong New Year Celebration the first Saturday in November.
Here are fall festival information and highlights:
Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival, 11 a.m.–7 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 9, Seattle Center Armory, Mural Amphitheatre and Fisher Roof, attracts enthusiastic crowds with Hawaiian spirit, live music, island BBQ and musubi offerings and creative hands-on learnings. Big island band Ho’aikāne headlines a schedule of live Hawaiian music in its multitude of traditions and influences. Seattlelivealohafestival.com.
Seattle Fiestas Patrias, 12 p.m.–11 p.m., Saturday and 12 p.m.–6 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 15-16, Armory, Fisher Pavilion and Seattle Center Pavilion, observes Latin American independence with live music and dance, children’s and wellness activities and Latin foods in ways that remind us all of the indomitable spirit of freedom. In keeping with the 2018 festival theme, Without Barriers, producer Sea Mar Community Health Centers will present an exhibition of 62 posters that draw attention to immigrants in the world, developed in partnership with the Mexican National Commission on Human Rights. Seattlefiestaspatrias.org.
The Italian Festival, 10 a.m.–7 p.m., Saturday and 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 29-30, Armory, Fisher Pavilion and Seattle Center Pavilion, underscores the culture’s influences, achievements and culinary expression in our region. Highlights include: The Swingle Kings live from Perugia, Italy in their first American appearance; celebrity chef Marco Sciortino headlining a lineup of Italian cooking demonstrations; Opera for Kids, four, free 30-minute performances of an interactive version of the beloved opera classic “Hansel & Gretel“; a grape stomping competition and the ever-popular – and expanded – Food Court & Vendor Market. Festaseattle.com.
CroatiaFest, 12 p.m.–6 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7, Armory, calls attention to the rich heritage of Croatia and its cultural presence in our region. Continuous traditional music and dance performances, children’s activities and multiple food vendors provide for a colorful and entertaining afternoon. One of the top Croatia bands in this country, Tamburaski Orkestar Ponoc, (known also as Ponoc Tamburitza Orchestra), travels from Pittsburgh, Penn. to debut at the festival using the Croatian national instrument, the tamburitza, a lute-like family of instruments key to traditional folk dancing, singing and celebration. Croatiafest.org.
Turkfest, 11 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13-14, Armory and Fisher Rooftop, marks the extraordinary arts and expression of a culture infused with eastern and western influences. The theme this year is A land of Wonders, Turkey. Group Truva, a leading Turkish folk music band from Vancouver BC, will perform and then participate in a Q&A session. Turkfest.org.
Diwali: Lights of India, 12 p.m.–6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 20 in the Armory, celebrates light over darkness, good over evil and the place Indian cultures in our region. The colorful festival features classical Odissi, Bharatanatyam and Kathak dances, a mandala decorative arrangement, henna tattooing and Indian vegetarian food for sale. Renowned South Indian classical musician, Master Violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan & Ensemble, are featured in a performance of Indian contemporary music. Facebook.com/vccfestivals.
Dia de Muertos – A Mexican Celebration to Remember Our Departed, 11 a.m.–7 p.m., Saturday and 11 a.m.–6 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 27-28 in the Armory, keeps deeply spiritual traditions alive with elaborate community altars, face painting, sugar skulls making, processions and holiday foods including the sweet bread of the dead. Diademuertosenseattle.org.
Hmong New Year Celebration, 11 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3 in the Armory, preserves ancient Southeast Asian highland cultures with this multigenerational harvest festival featuring traditional holiday activities including ball-tossing, flower cloth making, live performances and Hmong food. Touly Vangku, one of the first Hmong artists to produce a music album in the United States following the Secret War of the 1980s when many Hmong families settled in this country, whose passion for music inspires and touches many in the Hmong community, will perform and host a session on the preservation of the Hmong language and the place of youth in Hmong performing arts. Hmongofwa.org.
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.
Seattle Center Festál is a public program presented by community organizations in partnership with Seattle Center. Admission is free-of-charge. For more information on this collection of ethnic cultural events and other Seattle Center public programming, visit 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.