- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 20, 2002

The 36th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, "The Silk Road: Connecting Cultures, Creating Trust," will explore the cross-cultural influences among the lands on or influenced by the ancient Silk Road, from Italy to Japan.
The festival begins next Wednesday on the National Mall between 7th and 14th streets and runs through June 30, then starts again July 3 and runs through July 7.
Admission is free. Food from concession stands is available. Crafts will be sold at the 22-tent "Lotus Bazaar."
Different areas will represent different Silk Road cultures. Closest to the Capitol will be a pavilion dedicated to Nara, the capital of Japan at the height of the Silk Road's use in the 8th century. Visitors can journey through areas representing China, Uzbekistan, Turkey, among other countries before ending at the Venetian area, close to the Washington Monument.
Visitors can encounter two-humped camels and visit a yurt, a tepeelike structure erected by Kazakh nomads.
The festival runs daily from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with special events and concerts until 9 p.m. The Ralph Rinzmer Memorial Concert, June 29 at 5:30 p.m., will include musicians from Turkey, Bangladesh and Japan.
Children will be issued special passports. At "passport stations" along the road, they can receive stamps to qualify for a reward at the end of their trip.
During the festival, daily information is available by calling 202/357-2700 (voice) or 202/357-1729 (TTY). The festival Web site is www.si.edu/folklife.
The Smithsonian's partner in the festival is the Silk Road Project Inc. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture is the lead funding group and creative partner. The National Park Service is the festival's co-sponsor.
Sanjay Talwani

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