Seattle Center Festál 2014 presents a remarkable collection of 22 cultural festivals on weekends throughout the year. Festál seeks to engage the broader public, while providing a space for cultural expression, celebration and pride for the broad range of presenting communities.
The Festál events, created through a partnership between festival producers and Seattle Center, bring ethnic cultures of our region to life through live performance, arts and crafts exhibits, ethnic foods, hands-on demonstrations, community information and children’s activities that illuminate their unique traditions and contemporary influences. When you visit, you’ll find specialty foods from each of the cultures, along with marketplaces of hand-crafted goods, language and travel information and much more.
Opening the last weekend of January with a celebration of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, Festál runs through mid-November, pausing in time for the start of Seattle Center Winterfest. A new event, Polish Festival, official joins the Festál ranks in 2014, and a refocused French festival now highlights francophone cultures throughout the world.
Festál considers themes of importance to the various cultures presented in the series, including celebrations of the sun and moon, independence from colonial rule, remembrances of departed loved ones and the myriad of factors shaping civilizations. The festivals make use of stages and display areas in Seattle Center Armory, Fisher Pavilion, Mural Amphitheatre and other indoor and outdoor spaces at Seattle Center.
Seattle Center Festál 2014 Line-up:
Tet Festival – Vietnamese Lunar New Year – marking the New Year with lucky money, martial arts and Children of the Dragon, Jan. 25 – 26. Festival goers are invited to revisit one thousand years of the Vietnamese history at this festive celebration as they immerse in the dance and visual arts of Vietnam.
Irish Week Festival – a snapshot of Irish culture with music, song, dance, history, language and genealogy, March 15 – 16. Visitors may shop for authentic Irish products, create Celtic arts and crafts and take in colorful cultural exhibits and contemporary Irish short films.
Seattle’s French Festival: A Celebration of French Speaking Cultures – where cuisine, music and dance highlight French influence around the world and in our region, Sunday, March 23. The Celebration offers Francophone products, cooking demonstrations, children’s games and sports competitions, live entertainment, theater and hands-on workshops.
Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival – deliciously and delightfully defining Japanese culture, April 25 – 27. This feast for the senses features Japanese foods, Taiko drumming and artisan demonstrations that presents both a modern and ancient view of this complex culture.
Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration – fast-paced excitement, cultural entertainment, family-friendly, Sunday, May 4. The festival launches Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month in Seattle with spectacular lion dances, live music and dance, youth drill teams, martial arts, Taiko drums and incredible artists from around the state.
Spirit of West Africa – with drumming, dance, fashion and a lively marketplace that highlight West African cultures, Saturday, May 10. Wawa! The traditions of six West African countries come to life through this spirited festival of live music, film, art and games.
A Glimpse of China – Chinese Culture and Arts Festival – where Beijing meets the real Seattle in arts and crafts, dance and music, Saturday, May 27. The festival highlights traditions covering 5,000 years of Chinese history and showcases China’s distinct culture through visual and performing arts, puppet performances, children’s activities and gift booths.
Northwest Folklife Festival, May 23 – 26, celebrating 43 years of presenting the rich cultural heritage of the Pacific Northwest this Memorial Day weekend throughout the grounds at Seattle Center. Northwest Folklife Festival features over 7,000 performers, participatory dances, workshops, crafts, food and more.
Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival – an artistic, expressive and colorful exploration of Philippine traditions and culture, June 7 – 8. This celebration of the arts and culture of the Philippines features vibrant costumes and pageantry, Filipino bands, hands-on children’s activities, craft exhibits and martial arts.
Festival Sundiata – Black African American heritage and inspiration marked in music, food and fun, June 14 –15. The festival educates the community and celebrates people of African descent with continuous live entertainment, dance workshops and drumming.
Iranian Festival – creative, cultural expression of “unity in diversity” through performances, poetry and authentic cuisine, Saturday, June 28. Music and dance, Rumi poetry, puppet shows and face painting provide a glimpse into this culturally opulent and enticing culture.
Polish Festival – with Polish food, performances, workshops and vibrant celebration, Saturday, July 12. Festival-goers will find colorful Polish arts and crafts, savory and sweet pastries, live music and dance and hands-on demonstrations of cutout paper art, pierogi making and traditional pickle soup, along with a marketplace of Polish hand-crafted pottery and jewelry.
Indigenous Cultures Day – promoting the value of all indigenous ancestries, Saturday, Aug. 16. Traditional and contemporary music and dance speak to the rich culture of North America’s indigenous cultures, while native storytellers share the history and lore of their people.
BrasilFest – a tropical carnaval rich in Brazilian music, martial arts, food and cultural roots, Sunday, Aug. 17. Festival-goers are invited to march in a colorful parade, dance, sing, eat and be amazed as BrasilFest fills Seattle Center with a sultry display of South American soul, Brazilian style, and celebrates the cultural diversity of this dynamic country.
Tibet Fest – from the roof of the world the unique lives in Himalayan arts, music and Bazaar, Aug. 23 –24. Tibet’s ancient and modern history are woven into Tibet Fest through a mix of traditional performance and modern song and dance, crafts, a children’s corner, foods and herbal medicines.
Live Aloha Hawaiian Cultural Festival – where the Aloha Spirit comes to life in the Hula, Ono food, music and a Hawaiian marketplace, Sunday, Sept. 7. The festival provides a feast for the senses as visitors journey through the sights, sounds and tastes of Hawaii, experiencing the festive spirit of the islands, while they learn their true history.
Seattle Fiestas Patrias – celebrating vibrant culture and community, independence and wellness in music, food and family, Sept. 13 – 14. Festival-goers may sample from a selection of traditional Latin American savories and sweets, dance to live mariachi music and join in children’s activities including a soccer clinic.
The Italian Festival – featuring family fun, Italian indulgences and a feast of Latin delights, Sept. 27 – 28. Festival-goers are invited to stomp grapes, toss a pizza, learn to cook Italian food, compete in a bocce tournament and celebrate the joy of “all things Italian” – from opera and popular music to pasta and wine.
CroatiaFest – introducing the music, art, food, history and heritage of Croatia, Sunday, Oct. 5. Acclaimed dance ensembles and musicians, intricate costumes, art exhibits, folkdance lessons, wine tasting, tourist information and historical displays showcase Croatia’s rich past and dynamic present.
TurkFest – with a Bazaar, folkdancing and culinary delights underscoring Turkish linkages to East and West, Oct. 18 – 19. Festival-goers are invited to savor a cup of Turkish tea or coffee and taste Turkish cuisine, while they experience how the Ottoman culture influenced Balkan food, music, dance, customs and language.
Dia de Muertos – A Mexican Celebration to Remember Our Departed – honoring the past and remembering our departed in arts, ritual and spirituality, Nov. 1 – 2. Festival goers are invited to create sugar skulls and paper skeletons, explore community altars and march in a musical procession to remember the dead.
Hmong New Year Celebration – a family gathering preserving the ancient Southeast Asian highland cultures of China, Laos and Thailand, Saturday, Nov. 8. This harvest and New Year Celebration showcases local Hmong dancers, musicians and artists in ways that engage festival-goers and illuminate this unique culture.
Seattle Center Festál is a program of Seattle Center Productions. For more information on this cultural series and other Seattle Center public programming, click on Seattle Center.