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Free, annual two-day party mixes music, dance, storytelling

Why will about 6,000 people show up at the Fall Folk Festival again this year?

Maybe the names of the acts have something to do with it:

• Toasted Toads

• Gefilte Trout

• Plaid Cat

• Crawdad Run

• Lil Twig and the Old Growth Wild Wood Marimba Band

Or maybe it’s because of the wide range of folk genres represented:

• Peruvian guitar

• Zimbabwean marimba

• Argentine dance

• Bamboo flutes

• Tribal fusion belly dance

• Polish folk and spiritual

• “Young radical accordion” music

Or maybe it has something to do with one other salient fact: It’s all free.

The Spokane Folklore Society’s annual fest has grown into a jam-packed two full days of music, dance and storytelling on eight different stages at Spokane Community College’s Lair student center.

Just to select a random example, at one point on Saturday afternoon, you can wander from Andean flutists to African marimba players to Japanese taiko drumming. There will be a total of 100 acts over both days, with broad swaths of Celtic and American folk styles represented as well.

And if you want to be more than spectator, you can take lessons in East Indian folk dance, create a work of art at the family crafts table or participate in the Saturday evening contra dance.

As always, KPBX-FM (Spokane Public Radio, 91.1) will broadcast live from the festival Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The festival remains free because of many generous sponsors, along with hundreds of volunteers. Donations, or course, are also gladly accepted.