UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Washington Ukrainian Festival!
For the last eight years, St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral has hosted the Washington Ukrainian Festival. With the support of the Ukrainian Embassy and local organizations, this is a wonderful two-day celebration of Ukrainian culture. The reputation of the Festival has grown, and it is now established as one of the most popular traditional events in the metropolitan Washington DC area. This year the Festival took place September 18 - 19, and the weather was picture-perfect, with blue skies and temperatures in the 70’s.
The Festival is held on five acres of open field, behind the Cathedral and Cultural Center. The property includes a beautiful pond with a water fountain and wooded areas. All of this is on New Hampshire Ave, a road that if followed south will take one straight to the U.S. Capitol. The unique location of the Festival contributes to its success.
On Saturday, September 18, the Festival began with an official opening ceremony at which Fr. Volodymyr Steliac, the Cathedral pastor, introduced His Grace Bishop Daniel who offered opening prayers for the Festival. His Grace was greeted with the traditional bread and salt by the Ukrainian dance ensemble «Voloshky». The Ukrainian Ambassador also participated in the official opening. The entertainment that followed over the next two days, from Ukrainian dancing to bandura solos and band singers, from junior to senior violinists, was sensational and non-stop. The Sisterhood prepared industrial quantities of delicious Ukrainian food, enough to feed the thousands of people who come year after year to taste the delicacies prepared.
Many vendors displayed exotic Ukrainian gifts. There was a live pysanka demonstration as well as pottery demonstrations by Ukrainian ceramic artists. The children too were not left out of the festivities.. Among the many fun things for them were pony rides, a moon bounce, and face- painting, the latter organized as a project of Plast. There were Church tours where people were able to become acquainted with Ukrainian Orthodoxy.
Anyone who attended the Festival could not help but marvel at the precision in organization and attention to detail that was evident wherever one turned. Unfortunately that prevents us from giving specific names of outstanding volunteers, for the list would overwhelm the reader.
The Festival was truly a sight to behold: Ukrainian- Americans enjoying themselves alongside people of many diverse backgrounds against the backdrop of the golden -domed Cathedral All who came to the Festival were exposed to the best of Ukrainian culture. Whether it was the caliber of the artists, the wide-ranging display of Ukrainian handicrafts and artwork, or the mouth-watering food, it is clear that this Festival was enjoyed by many and is a fall tradition that is here to stay.