Seattle Center Festál presents Seattle’s French Fest: A Celebration of French Speaking Cultures in partnership with France Education Northwest (FEN).
Seattle’s French Fest celebrates the diversity of traditions, ideas, dialects, and more, that comprises French-speaking cultures around the world. While France is often the most well-known French-speaking country for people in the U.S., there are many other countries and places all around the world where French is spoken. French and several similar dialects are even spoken by groups in the U.S., particularly in Louisiana.
The festival aims to embrace this diversity of French-speaking cultures in the types of activities offered at the event. It promotes the French idea of “joie de vivre” through music, dancing, cooking demonstrations, film screenings, wine tastings, baguette tasting contest, and more. Each year, there are live performances on the main stage featuring traditional dance and music from French-speaking countries or in the French language.
France Education Northwest (FEN), founded in 2008, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The organization was started by leading members of Seattle’s French American community, including many members of the French American Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest, to focus on education and promotion of French culture. FEN’s founders were particularly driven by a desire to reach out to and inspire youth. While FEN serves these goals in a variety of ways, from cooking classes to visiting local schools, the festival is by far FEN’s biggest and most accessible event.
Seattle’s French Fest: A Celebration of French-Speaking Cultures draws inspiration from the “International Day of Francophonie,” a celebration organized in over 100 countries every March 20th to honor and showcase the diversity of Francophone cultures and traditions. Francophone means French-speaking, and can be used to describe people, cultures, and regions. The term “francophonie,” however, describes more than just a linguistic or geographic connection to France. “Francophonie” describes a unifying sense of belonging to and appreciation for Francophone values and culture.
The festival is an important part of FEN’s founding mission, acting as a catalyst for our local public, no matter their background, to learn about and share in celebrating French and French-Speaking cultures. The festival first opened in 2013 and has since taken place every year during the spring. Even though the festival is just one-day long, it is one of the West Coast’s largest Francophone-themed festivals. For its deep-rooted belief in the importance of appreciating and learning about diverse cultures, Seattle’s French Fest: A Celebration of French Speaking Cultures, is and will continue to be a celebration of French-speaking cultures around the world.
DID YOU KNOW?
- There are 29 countries where French is an official language, and 31 countries that are considered Francophone. There are also several smaller regions and groups where French is spoken.