Maryland Folklife To Be Celebrated at the 78th National Folk Festival CHESAPEAKE TRADITIONS Participants Announced

The National Folk Festival will announce the performers, craftspeople and demonstrators who will be featured in the Maryland Traditions Folklife Area & Stage of the 78th National Folk Festival, which will take place in downtown Salisbury, September 7 – 9, 2018. This will be the first year of the event’s three-year residency in Salisbury.


The Maryland Traditions Folklife Area & Stage celebrates and showcases the rich, living traditions of Maryland—from its Atlantic beaches to the Appalachian Mountains. With a different theme each year, the Folklife Area will shine the spotlight on the distinctive music, rituals, crafts, occupations, foodways, and other traditions at the heart of Maryland heritage, expressing both the state’s deep history and its evolving character.


Performances, demonstrations, displays, exhibits, and narrative presentations by Maryland master artisans and performers will explore a wide range of topics, including the traditions of its First Peoples, the cultural legacies of early settlers, and the expressions of the newest Maryland residents whose cultural roots are in far-flung places around the globe.


Chesapeake Traditions


In 2018, Maryland folklife is celebrated in a special program entitled Chesapeake Traditions. Curated by Maryland Traditions, the folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council, and the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University, Chesapeake Traditions will explore the region’s rich material and occupational traditions, which have flourished from the maritime, marsh and agricultural communities. Crab picking, oyster shucking, and Smith Island Cake baking are just “a slice” of what is offered at Chesapeake foodways demonstrations. Master shipwrights and decoy carvers will showcase their woodworking talents. Learn how the relationship of land and water has been carried across generations of Native people from the area’s indigenous communities. Enjoy an array of exciting performances and demonstrations by 2017-2018 Maryland Traditions Master Apprenticeship Award recipients from across the state.


Media are invited to attend the lineup announcement, which will include government leaders and planners for the event, as well as a showcase of artists from the Chesapeake Traditions area. Light refreshments will be provided.




  • Lora Bottinelli, Executive Director of the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury University


  • Chad Buterbaugh, Director of Maryland Traditions, Maryland State Arts Council


  • Julia Olin, Executive Director, National Council for the Traditional Arts


  • Sensational Royal Lights (gospel) — Now based in Catonsville, this family ensemble with roots in the Cambridge community of Cordtown has been sharing quartet-style gospel throughout Delmarva for over six decades. Through their ministry, they have kept the gospel quartet tradition, which first emerged in the South in the 1870s, strong in the Chesapeake region. The Sensational Royal Lights will offer a taste of what’s to come at the National by performing several songs at the press conference.


  • Rich Smoker (decoy carving) — This decoy carver from Marion Station is a master of a renowned Eastern Shore tradition that is connected to the occupational and recreational culture of the Chesapeake region. Rich, who works full-time as a wildfowl decoy carver and passes on the tradition to next-generation artists formally and informally, will demonstrate carving and have several of his best lifelike decoys on display during the press conference.


  • Janice Marshall (Smith Island cake and crab picking) — Well-known baker, crab picker, and storyteller carries on a tradition that extends back through generations of Smith Island women. She is a proud ambassador for Smith Island and its place in the cultural history of Maryland. She will have Smith Island Cake on display to discuss the special skills required to make the famous dessert, with slices available for sampling during the press conference.


To learn more about the National Folk Festival, please visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *