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June 21, 2007

CW sends representatives to Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.

Colonial Williamsburg will participate in the 41st Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., June 27-July 1 and July 4-8. This year’s festival theme, “The Roots of Virginia Culture,” commemorates the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in America. “The Roots of Virginia Culture” will include approximately 120 artists, musicians, dancers, storytellers, cooks, farmers and craftspeople who will explain, demonstrate and celebrate cultural traditions from pre-colonial Virginia, southeastern England and West Africa. Several representatives from Colonial Williamsburg will take part in the festival.

Rex Ellis, Colonial Williamsburg’s vice president of the Historic Area, who serves as an advisor for “The Roots of Virginia Culture” and as a representative of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, will emcee several events.

From June 27-July 1, Harvey Bakari, manager of African American history interpretation at, among other historic sites, Great Hopes Plantation and the Peyton Randolph House, will serve as a presenter. In 2001, Bakari and Dr. Abdoulaye Camara, curator of the Museum of Art in Dakar, participated in a program affiliated with the International Partnership Among Museums to explore historical connections between Virginia and Senegal during the colonial period. At the folklife festival, they will help visitors understand the impact of Senegalese material culture in Virginia through comparing skills practiced by Africans and African Americans in Virginia. Senegalese tradespeople will present traditional skills of basketmaking, wood carving, blacksmithing, farming and cooking, in comparison with African American skills that survived in Virginia.

Robert Watson, an interpreter in the African American history interpretation ensemble, will demonstrate and interpret the retention of African social and material culture in colonial Virginia. He explores different types of African basket and wood weaving techniques and materials.

From June 27-July 1 and July 4-8, members of Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Trades staff will be stationed in the festival’s maritime-themed area. Apprentice cooper Marshall Scheetz will produce 100-pound gunpowder barrels out of red oak. Ted Boscana, journeyman carpenter and joiner, will construct a sea chest. From July 4-8, apprentice basketmaker Terry Thon will demonstrate the construction of white oak baskets and containers.

The festival’s daytime programs operate from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with evening events starting at 6 p.m. More than one million visitors attend the festival annually.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society, culture and government — stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic tradespeople research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information or reservations, call toll-free 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg on the Internet at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121