Edmonton’s First Ukrainian Festival is Happening This Weekend!
It’s time to pull on your dance boots and iron your vyshyvanka! Edmonton is having its first ever Ukrainian Festival! Gather your friends and family and join the fun on May 25-26, 2018 at Borden Park.
The UFest Edmonton Ukrainian Festival celebrates Ukrainian culture by showcasing the best of music, dance, arts & crafts, and of course, food. This culture has flourished in Alberta since the first immigrants arrived in the 1880s, and continues to grow as a vibrant community.
You don’t have to be Ukrainian to attend, but you might wish you were after immersing in the rich cultural heritage at the festival. There’s so much to see and do; you’re going to want to pace yourself.
Something for Everyone
Friday night festivities run from 5-11pm. The festival aims to showcase the enormous wealth of talent of the Ukrainian community in Alberta. Performers of all levels will grace the stage. The pros will definitely inspire, but it’s the littlest dancers who show us the future of Ukrainian culture is strong.
Get your own toes tapping! Step lively with dance troupes, choirs, traditional tsymbaly performers, and more. There’s even something called Marango Pie!
Contrary to what delicious images the name might conjure, Marango Pie is NOT a dessert…it’s actually a gypsy band – which is even cooler and leaves room for more calories.
In between performances on the main stage, stroll the park to visit the vendor village. Authentic Ukrainian hand-crafted goods are known for their intricate embroidery, attention to detail, and quality. With such a proud heritage, these skills have been passed down through the generations and yet, have adapted to modern Canadian living.
- Genuine Ukrainian Apparel and Home Decor
- Made-in Ukraine Jewellery
- Ukrainian Embroidered Shirts/Blouses (vyshyvanka)
All that shopping and dancing earns you a treat. Stop by the kava kafe for coffee, and a slice of honey cake, a poppy seed roll, or a few bismarcks. For, you know, sharing.
The performances are still going strong so you could always head back to the main stage. Or, delve into the arts and crafts of Ukraine yourself. Pysanky Easter eggs are an ancient part of Ukrainian culture. If you’ve never tried this batik method for writing symbols on eggs, you’ll definitely want to sign up for a workshop. There are also demonstrations and workshops for house blessing spirals and tapestry weaving.
It wouldn’t be a festival without food, and everyone knows Ukrainians prepare some of the most mouth-watering dishes in Alberta. While there will be a range of non-traditional options (which of the 10 kinds of poutine will you try?), you’ll feel right at home with a plateful of perogies, kovbasa, or cabbage rolls.
And if you’ve never had borshch (but always wanted to), this is the perfect place to try it.
Once you’ve got a good full belly, saddle up to the Korchma (Beer Gardens). UFest After Dark keeps the party going on Saturday night from 8-11pm with live bands. Haven’t you ever wanted to jive under the stars? Come on, we won’t judge!
The UFest Edmonton Ukrainian Festival may be the first of its kind, but it IS a great example of why the Ukrainian culture is so active in the city. There’s a deep desire to keep traditions alive. The community wants to come together. It’s proud of its history and is committed to taking that into the future. You can’t do that without the bonds that only grow through shared experiences.
In a big country with that honours multiculturalism, it’s important to celebrate what makes your piece of the puzzle unique. To gleefully shout out “Hey, we’re great at this and want to share it with you!”; to know that we share so much in common without being identical – that is a beautiful thing.
Stawnichy’s is grateful to have been part of the Ukrainian community in Alberta for four generations. Celebrate the sunshine and rejoice in the spring air. Come together, whether to share a dance, a meal, or a pint, and feel the warmth that comes from a united community!
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