Written by: Megan Messina Rain or shine, mark your calendars for this weekend’s 37th Northwest Folklife Festival. The Festival will be held May 23-26 from 11am-11pm and is free of charge. Come celebrate year-round ethnic, folk, and traditional arts activities produced by Northwest Folklife. The event is great for people of all ages as there will be music and dance performances, visual arts and folklore exhibits, hands-on ethnic children’s activities, symposia, dance and music workshops, crafts, food and more. Nancy Brose, 37, had only good things to say about last year’s Festival, “The entertainment was amazing. I never knew where to focus my attention at first, but by the end of the day I was fortunate enough to see it all.” Folklife was founded in 1972 and is sponsored by Northwest Folklife and the Seattle Center, where the event will be held. An estimated 250,000 visitors, 1,000 volunteers and more than 7,000 musicians, dancers and visual artists are expected to be there. Megan Kahn, 30, showed much anticipation when asked if she would be attending the event this year. “I’m definitely going for the visual artists. I could spend an entire day looking at art alone.” Although the event is free of charge, donations will be accepted. There will be $10.00 commemorative festival buttons available for purchase. The buttons will differ each day. In addition, Folklife T-shirts and other sportswear will be for sale. The Northwest Folklife Festival is trying to encourage members to go green during the event. Due to the construction of a garage on Fifth Avenue and the sale of the 2nd Avenue and John St. lots, there will be reduced parking at Seattle Center. Instead of creating global warming by driving around and looking for a parking space, do something about it. Ride your bike, take the bus or monorail, even walk to the 2008 Northwest Folklife Festival. There will be a Northwest Folklife Benefit Concert called Urban Indians: Local Heroes. The concert is brought to you by the generous support of the JiJi Foundation and the Sage Foundation. Local urban Indian artists, actors, musicians and dancers will interpret and transform words and music with theatrical performance, poetry and spoken words (some quite humorous). The concert will be held at the Bagley Wright Theatre on Saturday, May 24 at 7:00 pm. Tickets are just ten dollars in advance and can be bought online until May 22nd. This event will feature Little Big Band which comes from diverse backgrounds of music, theatre, visual arts and traditional Native American Cultures. If you don’t yet have plans for this Memorial Day weekend, know that the Northwest Folklife festival is a great option. If you are looking to have a relaxing and entertaining day out, grab a group of friends and go enjoy the many activities available to the public, free of charge.