EVENTS: Here comes the SunFest

EVENTS • BY DARLENE REYES

Start the summer off right enjoying live performances, games and international food.

Washington Revels is holding its annual summer solstice celebration, SunFest, on June 10 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. The free event takes place in Downtown Silver Spring, on Ellsworth Street between Georgia Avenue and Fenton Street.

SunFest kicks off with a parade of cultures and puppets and as the event progresses, attendees will be able to enjoy two stages of traditional music, dance and drama from around the world, international cuisine and a folk mart with artisan handicrafts.

“We look to present a variety of music and dance representing traditional and fusion elements of cultures spanning five continents. The majority of performers are from Montgomery County, [including] some soloists and many in multigenerational ensembles. We actively seek out new performers each year,” said Greg Lewis, the Executive Director of Washington Revels. The performers submitted an application and Revels reviewed the acts through either a live or taped performance.

Roda Movement will be performing Brazilian Capoeira, which is a mix of dance and martial arts and is performed in traditional white Abadas pants and a white shirt. Roda Movement will also be performing Zumba, a fitness program performed to Latin music.

Roda Movement were sought out to perform in last year’s SunFest and decided to return this year, according to owner Roberto Tapio.

“It is an opportunity to show the community our movements,” said Tapio. “I hope [the audience] really, really enjoys the show. This show will be for every kind of audience — no matter the age or race.”

The fun is not only for adults as there will also be the Revels Kids Zone, which will have arts and crafts, storytelling, and traditional children’s songs.

“It’s a great family activity — parents and children will enjoy the music and the folk mart, and parents can relax a bit while children get busy with crafts in the Revels Kids Zone,” commented Jo Rasi, an arts consultant and head of Marketing and Development at Washington Revels.

The festival began when Revels relocated to Silver Spring in 2008 and wanted to create a major summer celebration in its new home, according to Rasi.

“The buzz about the festival — on line and within the local community – has been just great, and it’s supposed to be a beautiful sunny day,” Rasi observed. “So I think there will be a good crowd out there”.

Performers at the event include the following: Washington Chinese Dance Academy, Roda Movements (Brazilian Capoeira/Zumba), Washington Revels Gallery Voices, The Sweater Set, Christylez Bacon, Tosin & Afrikan Rhapsody, Dawn Avery (Native American), The Red Line Quintet, Chin Hamaya Daiko (Japanese), Wrhatnala Gamelan USA (Indonesian), Sudrabavots (Latvian) and the Orfeia Vocal Ensemble (Eastern European) with Carpe Diem singers.

For more information, visit the SunFest website.

Featured image by Julie Wiatt from Sunfest 2011.