The Northwest Folklife Festival fills Seattle Center with music and dance of world cultures by thousands of performers on 20 stages Friday through Monday, May 24-27. It’s the 48th year of the popular event for all ages, with longtime favorite features, new events and this year’s Cultural Focus: Youth Rising, showcasing youth art and creativity.

All are encouraged to join in at Folklife, with singalongs, drum circle, dance lessons and jam sessions. Dancing at Warren’s Roadhouse in Fisher Pavilion includes zydeco, blues, swing, contra, and more, this year with the addition of non-gendered dance callers at some events, using “Larks and Ravens” rather than “Ladies and Gents” to direct dancers.

In celebration of the late, legendary folk singer, the Pete Seeger Centennial Celebration features space to share stories and add to Pete’s memory wall, a display of lyrics and books by and about Pete Seeger, and a daily Hootenanny to join in playing and singing “For Pete’s Sake.”

The Circle of Indigenous Peoples Celebration on Broad Street Lawn with artists from around the Northwest welcomes all to share in Indigenous cultural traditions, songs, dances, and stories all weekend.

With so many choices of things to see at do at Folklife, their website offers a helpful feature to curate your own schedule.

Admission to Northwest Folklife Festival is free, but donations are requested to help pay event expenses. A large bike corral at the Harrison Street entrance will be available for people biking to Seattle Center; more information on transportation options is available at the Folklife website.


Also this weekend, several local events honor Memorial Day, the reason for the weekend holiday. The Museum of Flight has two events, the first on Saturday, May 25, a celebration of the museum’s new Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park. General James Mattis (Ret.), former Secretary of Defense, is the featured speaker for the ceremony, along with aircraft flyovers, music, and other speakers to honor veterans. A restored B-52G Stratofortress 59-2584 “Midnight Express” is the centerpiece of the new park that also features a Tribute Wall. On Monday, May 27, the Museum of Flight hosts a Memorial Day Celebration with music, Honor Guard and a commemoration ceremony. To celebrate the event, museum admission is free for veterans plus one adult guest and any children ages 16 and younger Saturday, Sunday and Monday, May 25-27.

For information on other Memorial Day events, see our Datebook listings.

Northwest Folklife Festival

Time: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, May 24-27.

Cost: Free; suggested donation $10/person or $20/family daily; any amount welcome.

Location: Seattle Center, Seattle.

More info:

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park Opening/Memorial Day

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park Opening Ceremony: 11 a.m. Saturday, May 25; free.

Memorial Day Celebration: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, May 27; free for U.S. veterans and military with ID, by museum admission for others, $16-$25.


Location: Museum of Flight, 9404 East Marginal Way S., Seattle.

More info: 206-764-5720 or