Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2004

What a perfectly gorgeous day for being at the Folklife Festival -- last year we had to miss it, as we were out of town, and the year before when it was a hundred degrees with smoke from Quebec forest fires blowing over the region, I wound up in the hospital with a migraine. Today it was in the low 80s and breezy, not too mobbed to get drinks whenever we felt like it.

Two photos above, looking toward the Washington Monument, and above, looking toward the Capitol Building. In addition to exhibits on Haiti and on Latino music (which could be heard all across the National Mall), one of the themes of this year's festival is Water Ways: Mid-Atlantic Maritime Communities. There were exhibits on commercial fishing and crab traps (Phillips Seafood was there, selling crab cakes and making the entire Mall smell like a fried seafood restaurant), artists carving decoys, water safety and rescue information, and many models of ships. We wandered through those tents, then briefly through the Haitian cooking exhibits.

A Chesapeake Bay skipjack -- an oyster boat -- once seen gathering oysters all over the Bay, now quite rare.

A ship-building demonstration, with the dome of the National Museum of Natural History in the background.

A lesson on rigging for kids.

A little model pirate ship atop one of the Smithsonian golf carts for people who have trouble walking around the festival.

A close-up of panels on a truck decorated for the Silk Road exhibition two years ago.

And here's the truck in its entirety.

Late in the afternoon, we walked through the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, above, and into the museum to see a collection of landscape paintings by Sanford Gifford, one of the Hudson River School artists.

A hibiscus near the fountain in the Sculpture Garden. Gifford loved mountains and shores, so there's a great deal of greenery and waterside scenery -- as with most of the Hudson River School artists, with the people and animals greatly diminished by the landscapes.

Here are the fountains and glass pyramids overlooking the concourse level of the East Building of the National Gallery of Art.

Geese, goslings and a heron along the Potomac River on the approach to Theodore Roosevelt Island, taken from the car.

Here is the river crossing from Virginia into Maryland on the American Legion Bridge, I-495, also taken from the car.