ROBIN BOOKER/BRANDON SUN
Brooklynn Yakiwchuk and Cobi Wiwchar, both of Winnipeg, prepare to dance at Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival at the Selo Ukraina site near Dauphin on Friday.
DAUPHIN — Ukrainian comfort food was on the menu yesterday for the 47th edition of Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival.
Janet Sirski pinches a perogy at Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival at the Selo Ukraina site near Dauphin on Friday. The festival wraps up on Sunday. (ROBIN BOOKER/BRANDON SUN)
Longtime volunteer Janet Sirski had just placed a tea towel over perogies she had finished pinching and placed a mixture of margarine and onion mixture on the stove, when she spoke to the Sun at the Selo Ukraina site just south of Dauphin on Friday.
"You have to have all this comfort stuff or it’s just not going to taste right," said Sirski, who has been helping out at the festival for about 20 years.
This year, Sirski helped organize a fashion show, is on the board of directors and is giving Ukrainian culinary classes throughout the weekend — including how to make korovai (bread dough ornaments), perogies and beet leaf holubtsi (bread dough wrapped with beet leafs and served with a cream sauce).
The annual festival has been very successful thanks to the support it receives from community members like Sirski, said festival executive director Gail Himpe.
"A lot of it has to do with the fact that we have great volunteers, great people organizing it and the venue itself is an attraction — the way the stage and seating is set up is very comfortable. There isn’t a bad seat in the house, and now with the new roof, it will be even better," Himpe said.
This year, Countryfest and the Selo Ukraina site, in consultation with the Ukrainian Festival, constructed a permanent roof over an expanded main stage in the festival grounds.
Himpe said that between 5,000 and 8,000 people attend the festival every year, depending on the performers and the weather.
The festival attracts people from all over Canada and the northern United States and there always seems to be people from Ukraine in attendance, Himpe said.
Salapata Yaxosoava, 26, of Ukraine is visiting her aunt and uncle in Winnipeg for the summer.
She said she was surprised and happy to find such a large festival celebrating Ukrainian culture in Canada.
Brooklynn Yakiwchuk, 14, and Cobi Wiwchar, 15, are with a dancing group from Winnipeg called Sopilka, which competed in the amateur talent contest on Friday.
The two were practising their dancing near the back of the audience at the top of the hill, preparing for their upcoming performance.
"I love dancing in a group — we’ve grown very close together, we’re like family," said Wiwchar.
Yakiwchuk said they were dancing a duet so they were supposed to act like sisters, which is easy for them because they have danced together for four years and are really good friends.
The festival wraps up on Sunday.
Performers include: Zhyto (Calgary), Zirka (Toronto), Millenia (Edmonton), Pavlychenko Folklorique Ensemble (Saskatoon), Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble (Winnipeg), Dennis Beyak, master of ceremonies (Winnipeg), The Ukrainian Old Timers (Winnipeg), Sche Raz Dancers (Dauphin), Bratstva Dance Studios (Dauphin), Zirka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble (Dauphin), Canada’s National Riding and Dancing Cossacks (Dauphin).
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 4, 2012