The 35th edition of the Lowell Folk Festival returns in full force this weekend, once again presenting its complete menu of music, food, and craft attractions that festivalgoers have come to expect.
Preparation for this mega event, which began literally a few days after the previous Folk Fest concluded, kicks into high gear this week.
The region’s signature cultural event since 1987, the Folk Fest wasn’t held in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, which also curtailed some activities upon its return last year.
Organizers expect to welcome as many as 150,000 visitors to this year’s three-day affair — the region’s largest outdoor party for more than three decades — which begins Friday night at 6:15 with the Parade of Nations from City Hall to Boarding House Park.
Led by Haitian musicians Lakou Mizik, they’re followed by opening night musical performances by Chuck Mead, Sona Jobarteh and Melody Angel.
New festival coordinator Lee Viliesis told the newspaper this year’s Folk Fest features a partnership with Mosaic Lowell and the Brush Art Gallery & Studios called “Experience Lowell,” an expansion of Art in the Courtyard and Destination Lowell, located in the Enterprise Bank parking lot at 222 Merrimack St.
Viliesis said Experience Lowell will largely be an art market, where local artists can sell their works directly during the festival. It will also feature local cultural and social organizations and charitable groups.
Folk Craft also makes its 2023 return, with the theme “Masters and Apprentices.”