By Diane M. Bolz
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Every five years, thousands of singers and dancers converge on Riga for the Latvian Song Festival. Participants, many decked out in traditional dress and wreaths of fresh flowers, regale an audience of tens of thousands with a lively variety of folk song and dance. In Suring, Wisconsin, Betty Piso Christenson honors her family's Ukrainian heritage by creating traditional, elaborately decorated eggs each Easter. On the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, back strap looms are used to weave brightly patterned textiles. All this and more is coming soon to the National Mall as part of the 32nd annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival. From June 24 to 28 and July 1 to 5, visitors will be able to learn about the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, explore Philippine culture, celebrate 150 years of Wisconsin statehood and take a look at the Rio Grande/Río Bravo Basin in an engaging series of performances, workshops, exhibitions and demonstrations. Festival hours are from 11 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. daily, with dance parties featuring traditional music each evening from 5:30 to 7. Special concerts will be held every night from 7 to 9, except July 4. Come join in the fun.