New Hampshire
Folklife in New Hampshire

1999 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

June 23 to July 4 1999
The National Mall, Washington DC


Festival themes "Celebrating New Hampshire Stories"

The living traditions of New Hampshire were presented at the 1999 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC and the 2000 Celebrate New Hampshire Festival in a curated program called "Celebrating New Hampshire Stories."

The program was organized into themes-just like chapters in a book-each one representing an important way of exploring traditional culture in New Hampshire.

Loving and skilled hands bring traditional arts to life.

Contra dance piano playing

Contra dance piano playing

Rug braiding

Rug braiding

The themes helped organize the ideas and tradition bearers so that visitors to the festival could learn about New Hampshire in an interesting and fun way. The themes also helped to determine how the festival would be set up.

In both Washington DC and New Hampshire, most of the themes were organized around a central hub. The tents and buildings housing demonstrations and performances were placed around the hub-much like spokes of a wheel. Four of the themes had large entryways that helped symbolize what people would experience.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival was held June 23-July 4, 1999 on the National Mall in Washington DC. The New Hampshire program featured over 140 individuals who demonstrated and performed for the two-week event. Another 60-70 individuals joined the program to celebrate in two days of special events.


The Celebrate New Hampshire festival was held June 7-11, 2000 at the Hopkinton State Fairgrounds in Contoocook, New Hampshire. It featured over 200 core participants, over 30 organizations and another 150 individuals that joined the event for special events and concerts.

The core themes were the same as those presented in Washington DC. Two new themes were created to accommodate the added organizations, state agencies, and individuals that contribute to the cultural life of New Hampshire.

The new themes were:

Celebrate Our History Partnerships for Community Service

View images of the 1999 festival site at the National Mall in Washington DC.


View images of the 2000 Celebrate New Hampshire festival site at the Hopkinton State Fairgrounds in Contoocook, New Hampshire.


Check out the list of festival participants & presenters.


Contact NH Public Television for a copy of Hello New Hampshire, a documentary video with teachers' guide based upon the New Hampshire presentation at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and Celebrate New Hampshire festival.


Lilacs with granite

Lilacs in bloom.

River and forest

Franconia Notch.

When viewing images of the festival and publications, you will notice the use of purple, green and gray for banners, publications, and other things. These colors were chosen to symbolize New Hampshire and continue now as the official colors of the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.

Here's why they were selected:

Green symbolizes New Hampshire's commitment to land stewardship and a sustainable working forest that today covers approximately 83% of the state.

Purple represents two of our official symbols.
The purple lilac-New Hampshire's state flower.
The purple finch-New Hampshire's state bird.

Gray represents the enduring strength of New Hampshire's granite bedrock and our nickname "The Granite State."

Photo credits
All: Photographer - Lynn Martin Graton