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20th Lowell Folk Festival, A celebration in Grand Style

Lowell National Historical Park

National Park News

Lowell, MA. Lowell National Historical Park a producing partner with The City of Lowell, National Council for the Traditional Arts, and the Lowell Festival Foundation, celebrated the 20th Lowell Folk Festival in grand style, marking traditions, tipping its hat to the past, and looking toward the future.

The festival and Lowell welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors from Friday night through early Sunday night (July 28 – 30). Twenty-three traditional performance groups provided music and more at six stages. From Congolese rumba to Texas Fiddling, audiences clapped their hands and kicked up their feet while enjoying the diverse offerings. The handiwork of fifteen New England craftspeople was showcased along Lucy Larcom Park. Families participated in puppet-making and street games along Shattuck Street. And though Friday evening brought lightning and heavy rain, established rain plans were quickly put into effect to allow the performances to get underway.

This year’s highlights included:

George Price, 20 year festival parade leader and currently Superintendent at Cape Cod National Seashore, retired his well-worn traditional parade umbrella for a colorful replacement to carry in future festival processions.

Joe Wilson, former executive director of the NCTA and a festival founding father received the new Lowell Folk Festival Heritage Award. This first award celebrates the efforts and contributions to person(s) who give of themselves to the festival production and planning.

New performance locations were unveiled as well as the new street activities and juried art exhibition areas. Cultural organizations from the Lowell area once again provided the unique taste of the Lowell Folk Festival through the ethnic food sales made available throughout the festival. Polish, Greek, Lao, African-American and many more menus were offered.

In recognition of the 20th Festival, a compilation CD was produced featuring 23 live performances from the first 19 festivals. Also presented was a 20th anniversary exhibit, Rediscovering our Roots - A History of Traditions at the Lowell Folk Festival, chronicling the history of the Lowell Folk Festival.

Additional ranger support was provided by Boston NHP, Minute Man NHP and Salem Maritime NHS for crowd and visitor safety.


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