Local Traditions Folklife Festival at Sandy Spring Museum

WHAT: Local Traditions Folklife Festival at Sandy Spring Museum is a free family-friendly event to celebrate the diversity of the wider community through music, traditional arts, hands-on activities, conversations and foodways as part of the 19th Annual Heritage Montgomery Days taking place throughout the County June 25-26.

Music and Dance

Celebrate community through premier musical and dance performances that are wide ranging and nationally recognized, many having performed at the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution and other leading venues.

Not to be missed is Warner Williams, perhaps the greatest living example of a musician who grew up playing in the style of the songster – the largely African American tradition of troubadours that is older than the blues. Williams is honored alongside B.B. King and John Lee Hooker as one of the nation’s greatest traditional artists. He is the recipient of NEA’s prestigious National Heritage Fellowship and is truly a local treasure.

Students from the local Cambodian Buddhist Society will dance classical Khmer pieces while members of the Peace Mission Korean Dance and Drumming Group will offer performances of Korean musical traditions and dances choreographed by their director Joung Sook Park.

Cappella group SPIV-Zhytta/Living.in.SONG, who presented by special invitation of the Ukrainian Embassy at the Library of Congress, will share folk and traditional songs derived from their rich heritage.

Students of the Natraj School of Indian Dance will showcase classical Indian dance and traditional folk dance, while members of the Sutradhar Institute of Dance & Related Arts, whose founder Milimma Devi recently received the Pola Nirenska Award for Lifetime Achievement in Dance by the Washington Performing Arts, will perform in the Kuchipudi style.

Barbershop and Exhibits

Expect a working pop-up barbershop onsite where local business owner and historian Vince Fillah of Sandy Spring’s 1 Cut Above will cut hair, greet visitors and share stories about the African American history of Sandy Spring.

The Center for Research in Basketry will be on hand discussing woven traditions. Visitors are encouraged to bring baskets from home to be part of an innovative project that is identifying Native American, African American, watermen and utilitarian pieces from the region. The Washington Japanese Dolls & Crafts School will display and create delicate dolls from vibrantly colored material in a wide variety of forms. Many have a long tradition and are still made today for household shrines, formal gift-giving or festival celebrations.

Don’t miss Objects of Significance, an exhibition that shares stories of recent immigrants, along with those who settled Sandy Spring long ago. On view at Sandy Spring Museum through September 3, 2016.

Hands-On Activities

This family-friendly event offers children and adults to participate in a wide range of activities onsite. As part of the installation of ARTINA 2016: Art in Nature, an outdoor sculpture exhibition on view June 30 through September 30, 2016, exhibiting artist Fabiola Alvarez Yurcisin invites guests to help create “Day/Night,” a series of woven hanging structures.

Henna artists will demonstrate the ancient tradition used to dye skin, hair and fingernails as well as fabrics into intricate and beautiful temporary designs. Come ready for a special design created just for you. Children will also have the chance to create their own Japanese paper dolls to take home.


“Courtyard Conversations” offers guests to opportunity to learn about different cultures, discuss topics important to the region and have the chance to meet new members of the community. Topics include, but are not limited to how English as a Second Language is taught in the area, how the Sutradhar Institute of Dance & Related Arts uses Indian practices like yoga, music, dance and creative writing to transcend culture boundaries and opportunities to understand more about the various Islamic practices, cultural traditions and beliefs held by the area’s Muslim population.


Come for the fun and stay for the food…and coffee! Husband-and-wife team Tebabu Assefa and Sara Mussie of Blessed Coffee will host a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. These ceremonies are meant to encourage dialogue and to remind us that coffee is not just a beverage, but a way of building community. Blessed Coffee is one of the first Benefit Corporations in Maryland, sharing its profits with Ethiopian coffee pickers and with local organizations in Takoma Park, and was recently honored by the White House as a “Champions of Change” for the company’s dedication to community development.

Taste old-fashioned lemonade and sample a local favorite, the Sandy Spring traditional cookie. Contemporary meets traditional with the innovative Naan Stop DC food truck, offering familiar Indian cuisine, such as basmati rice, naan, chicken tikka, samosas, chutney and grilled veggies.

Free and open to the public, the Local Traditions Folklife Festival promises to enrich, enlighten and entertain folks of all ages.

About Sandy Spring Museum

Sandy Spring Museum is located at 17901 Bentley Road, Sandy Spring, MD 20860. Sandy Spring Museum is a gathering place where people can develop meaningful connections by exploring community history through the visual, literary, and performing arts. The museum is open to the public Wednesdays-Saturdays from 10 am-5 pm. For more information, call (301) 774-0022 or visit www.sandyspringmuseum.org.