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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Missing BC's annual Ukrainian cultural festival

There's something for everyone at the annual BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival ... non-stop dance competitions by dancers from all over British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, fabulous Ukrainian cuisine (usually provided by Judy Hrynenko of Prairie Cottage Perogies), live music by roving musicians, and all kinds of Ukrainian arts, crafts, and cultural displays.

It takes place on the first Saturday in May every year. This year was its 16th. (How the time flies!)

I don't like to miss this fun event but when you live on Vancouver Island it can be kind of tricky getting to Mission first thing on a Saturday morning.

Fortunately for me, Joan Brander, pysanka artist extraordinaire and a dear friend, volunteered to represent Nash Holos for me this year. From the pictures she sent me, it looks like she did an outstanding job!

Joan partnered with  fellow Richmond Uke Marcia Moroz, another good friend, who was at an adjacent table. Last time I visited Marcia, back in March, she was already starting to take time from her painting, her blog and her other myriad activities to bake and decorate over 200 cookies that look like Ukrainian dancers in costume.

As in years past, son Daniel was a great help to Marcia in producing, transporting and selling her unique treats at the Festival. And, as in years past, they sold like hotcakes!

This year for the Nash Holos table I had some merchandise (t-shirts, mugs, magnets, etc) made up with the NH logo. Joan tells me they were quite a hit with some of the visitors to the table.

Also, there were copies of some Ukrainian themed books. One of the them was the popular anthology Kobzar's Children: A Century of Untold Ukrainian Stories.

The other was Natalie Kononenko's book Ukrainian Minstrels: And the Blind Shall Sing. (Prof. Kononeko is The Kule Chair in Ukrainian Ethnography at the University of Alberta.)

All my copies sold out completely, thanks to visitors like these lovely ladies. So next year I will have to remember to bring more!

But if you can't wait till then you can always order them through Amazon.

In her long career as an artist and teacher of the ancient art of Ukrainian Easter Egg decorating, Joan Brander wrote a couple of outstanding books herself, on the art of pysanka.

They are: Pysanky on Paper: An Activity Book for Children and About the Pysanka: It Is Written! ...  a unique and comprehensive bibliography of pysanka themed books.

I asked Joan to bring them along to sell but she only brought a copy of each for display.

However if you'd like a copy of one or both for yourself, you can order her books, as well as supplies for making pysanky, at her website. You can also order It is Written through Amazon. However keep in mind that if you order directly from Joan you can get her to autograph your book(s) for you.

Although Joan and Marcia left the festival early, it looks like while they were there a great time was had by all!

For my part, I must say that what I regret missing out on most (in addition to the dancing and Judy's fabulous perogies!) was not being there to connect with old friends, loyal Nash Holos listeners, and new friends and listeners. However, thanks to Joan I can enjoy these photos of the good folks who stopped by to say hello. 

Hopefully we'll get the chance to meet at the 17th annual BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival.

If you haven't taken it in yet (or even if you have!), you won't want to miss it either. See you there next year!

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