Lowell Folk Festival Celebrates The Many Tastes of Local Ethnic Cuisines

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Known for its eclectic blend of music, food, and art, the 35th Anniversary of the Lowell Folk Festival returns in person July 29-31. With a musical lineup of acts from around the world, the festival will once again renew its rich history in showcasing the many tastes of Lowell’s diverse communities. This year’s festival will feature 18 ethnic food stands operated by local non-profit community groups, each offering a different traditional cuisine that showcases their heritage. The Foodways feature of the 2022 festival will present Comfort Food: How Our Culture Comforts US, two days of cooking demonstrations and discussions.

“While we are a festival celebrating folk traditions from around the world, people come not just for the amazing music but for the food and crafts we present. Our ethnic food vendors and Foodways programming are really popular and sets this festival apart from others,” said Kevin Dwyer, Executive Director of the Lowell Folk Festival.

“Each of our food vendors sells a different traditional type of cuisine and they each raise funds for different nonprofit organizations from local communities” continued Dwyer. “ A lot of these nonprofit organizations have been involved in the festival since the very beginning, and the festival is the largest fundraising event of the year for many of them. So not only is the food delicious, but the funds also go right back into supporting our community.“

The Lowell Folk Festival has always had a deep connection to the ethnic communities living in the region. The tempting aromas of Portuguese, Brazilian, Greek, Polish, Asian, Latin, Burmese and so many other foods will waft through the festival as non-profit organizations including the Lowell Polish Cultural Committee, the Armenian Relief Society, Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church of Lowell, Iskwelahang Pilipino and more prepare food for the large crowds. The proceeds benefit projects and programs in and around Lowell.

Food booths will be set up near three of the festival’s four stages. Boarding House Park Stage will feature Greek, Filipino, Hispanic, Jamaican/Indian, Middle Eastern and Laotian food booths. Dance Pavilion (on Arcand Drive) will feature Southeast Asian, Mixed African, Liberian, Brazilian, Burmese and Cameroonian food booths. Market St Stage will feature Armenian, Green, Polish, Jamaican/Indian, Laotian, Hispanic food booths.

Foodways cooking demonstrations will showcase Comfort Food: How Our Culture Comforts Us Saturday and Sunday at Lucy Larcom Park Folklife Area from noon to 5P.

Curated by folklorist Millie Rahn, Foodways will feature moderated discussions and presentations with home cooks showing comfort foods from their cultures. From great ethnic dishes like Polish pierogi, Greek potato fries, Lithuanian veggie/chicken stew, and Vietnamese spring rolls and sticky rice, attendees will not only learn the recipes and tips on preparation but will hear the stories that make these comfort foods so special.

2022 Comfort Food: How Our Culture Comforts Us Demonstrations
Saturday & Sunday, Noon-5pm, Lucy Larcom Park
Curated & moderated by folklorist, Millie Rahn

Noon: Dottie Naruszewicz Flanagan–Polish pierogi
1pm: Eleni Zhodi—Greek patates tiganites
2pm: Irena Malasauskas–Lithuanian veggie & chicken stew
3pm: Timothea Pham & Hanh Duong –Vietnamese spring rolls (Sat.) & sticky rice (Sun.)
4pm: Dave Golber, sharpening knives & other tools

Renowned performers from around the world that will grace four stages across downtown Lowell including: Cherish the Ladies (Irish), Los Pleneros de la 21 (Bomba and Plena), Dale Ann Bradley (Bluegrass), Diunna Greenleaf & Blue Mercy (Blues), Nava Persian Trio (Persian Santour), The Pedro Giraudo Tango Ensemble (Argentine Tango), Carolyn Martin Swing Band (Western Swing), Balla Kouyaté & Famoro Dioubaté (Balafon Masters), Christine Tassan et les Imposteures (Jazz Manouche and Swing), Don Bryant (Memphis Soul), Lenny Gomulka & Chicago Push (Polka), Panfilo’s Güera (Tejano Conjunto Fiddle), Tremé Brass Band (New Orleans Brass Band), and Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole (Creole Music).

The Lowell Folk Festival is produced by the Lowell Festival Foundation, the City of Lowell, Lowell National Historical Park, the National Council for the Traditional Arts, the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau.

More details about the festival, including additional artists and schedules, can be found at LowellFolkFestival.org or on Lowell Folks Facebook Page.