The second annual Russian Festival will take place on Sun., May 22 from noon to 7 p.m., at University High School in Carmel, Ind. The Festival is organized by the volunteers of the Russian School of Indiana to raise funds for School’s programs and activities.
The Russian School of Indiana – a Sunday enrichment program – started in the summer of 1993. A few immigrant families (the influx of Russians to Indy started in late 1980s with the immigration of the Soviet Jews) would gather under the tree in an apartment complex near the JCC to teach their kids Russian. These new immigrants from Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, and other former Soviet Union republics were concerned with the rapid deterioration of connections to their children. The children were learning English and losing their Russian at an alarming speed.
Now, more than 20 years later, these same children who are parents now, are trying to help their own children to preserve their heritage and culture. Parents, grandparents and children organized a Russian Festival to celebrate their heritage, culture, and traditions from the former Soviet Union. The first festival took place last year and attracted around 1,500 visitors.
The festival program is intense and multifaceted. First, there is going to be a fantastic array of native dishes. We are preparing stuffed cabbage, borsht, pel’meni (Russian style dumplings), cutlets, blinis with different fillings, Russian potato salad, beet salads, the array of different pirozhkis – variety of sweet and savory pastries – and Russian style desserts, just to name a few.
The entertainment includes: St. Nicolas Balalaika Ensemble from Canton, Ohio; Indiana Ballet Conservatory; Ballet Theatre of Indiana; Russian folk songs and romances performed by Yana Weinstein, Ukrainian-born mezzo soprano who is pursuing a doctoral degree in voice at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music; Folk Dance group Kabluchok from Cincinnati will perform Russian, Ukrainian, Kozaks, and other dances; Performance by students from Rhythmic Gymnastics of Indiana, led by Julia Workman; Russian Folk Choir; and Songs, dances, and instrumental performances by the students of the Russian School of Indiana.
In addition, several artists of Russian descent will be showcasing and selling their paintings and crafts. We will also offer a selection of different workshops. They are: Tea and Canvas with the Russian theme; Write your Name in Russian; Paint the Nested Doll; Chess; Checkers; Cookies Decoration and more. In addition, several documentaries about Russia and one movie with English subtitles will be shown. Children can enjoy themselves at the bounce house.
Admission is free. The delicious food will be available for purchase. To learn more, please contact Natalia Rekhter, Executive Director of Russian School at 317-399-4685 or their Facebook Profile: www.facebook.com/indyrussianfestival.