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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Sorochinsky Fair

Great article in the Kyiv Post about Ukraine's famous Sorochinsky Fair, which took place this year Aug. 17-22.

Except for a period during the regressive and repressive soviet era, this historic open-air market has been around a long time. Ukrainian writer Nicolai Gogal (properly translitered as Hohol from Ukrainian) wrote a short story about it, and Mussorgsky composed an opera about it. With over 700,000 visitors, it is as popular today as it ever was.

Villagers and gawkers from all over Ukraine flock to this annual five-day feast for theater plays and insane shopping.

Back in the 19th century, this fair was no different from others. It owes its popularity to writer Nikolai Gogol, who was born in Velyki Sorochintsy, the same village where the fair is held. In his novel, he described all the action of wheeling and dealing, which, to be honest, hasn’t changed much. The fair is still a mess: rows of piglets mix with buckets of ostrich feathers.

But for many, this eclectic mix of disorganized village produce is the main attraction. Presidents and parliament deputies make it a must stop to mingle with simple folk and buy Ukrainian souvenirs.

The fair is only a three-hour drive from Ukraine's capital, Kyiv.

Details of the fair (including highlights of previous years' fairs) are available at the fair's website here.

Vasyl did a charming feature on the fair on his Kultural Capsule on the August 29 broadcast of Nash Holos.  You can listen to it here.


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