Ukrainian Heritage Festival

This weekend saw the return of the 21st annual Ukrainian Heritage Festival held at the Ukrainian American Community Center in Northeast Minneapolis. This year’s festivities included an extensive lineup of vendors, food, games, and not one, but two stages for live performances. The inside featured the art auction and photo exhibit “Ukraine: Portraits of Courage” that documented Ukrainians’ resilience amidst the chaos of the first days of war. The proceeds of the auction benefited the Protez Foundation. During the festival, the guests could also witness the process of making pysanky and learn more about history and traditions from Nadia Nowytski, a well-known pysanka artist who has been making pysanky all her life. 

 The day began at the indoor stage, with the opening ceremonies, traditional music, and the national anthem. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey were among those in attendance to support Ukraine and the local Ukrainian-American community of the Twin Cities. After attending the festival, Sen. Amy Klobuchar wrote, “For Minnesota’s Ukrainian-American community, Putin’s war can’t stop the fierce pride in Ukraine and its independence. Minnesota’s 21st Ukrainian Heritage Festival celebrates the freedom and culture Russia is never going to destroy, and I was proud to be there today.” And we can’t agree more, Senator! 

Afterwards, the celebration moved to the outdoor stage, with live music from a number of talented Ukrainian artists, including UVB, Balaklava Blues, DJ Solomia, Vocal Ensemble Vesna, and Lev & Olga Band. The food options included borscht, Ukrainian sausage, and pork kabobs along with many other dishes and desserts. There were Ukrainian books for sale, as well as vyshyvanka, handmade jewelry, art, and famous war stamps. People danced and sang along to the Ukrainian Village Band at the outdoor stage, while inside there were dazzling traditional dances performed by the Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. 

Perhaps the most inspiring part of the day was seeing the smiling faces of the five Ukrainian soldiers who came to Minnesota to receive prosthetic care from the amazing Protez Foundation. After going through the unimaginable to protect and serve Ukraine, they stood together today with inspiring stories, and positive exuberance.

 The Heritage Festival was truly an uplifting moment for the local Ukrainian community to come together and celebrate culture and traditions together. Look for other upcoming events in support of Ukraine at the Stand With Ukraine MN website found here: