The article offers a detailed ethnographic description of the "interregional festival of national song" in the village of Baisa (in the Urzhum district of the Kirov region of Russia). The village is populated by ethnic Mari. The concept of this festival was elaborated by representatives of cultural institutions of the Republic of Marii El, who also support the festival project financially and in terms of publicity. The establishment of the annual festival led to discursive reevaluations by the inhabitants of Baisa of those practices that they qualify as "national" (Mari) practices. It also generated new ways of representing national culture in the rural community. Such local initiatives can be productively viewed as "nationalism from below," whereas the activities sponsored by the Republic of Marii El may be seen as a project of developing diasporic identity among those ethnic Mari who reside beyond "their" national republic's boundaries.