8th annual Russian & Slavic Cultural Festival
St. Alexander’s Russian Cultural Festival is held every year. People from the Russian community come out and enjoy the wonderful festivities despite the rainy and cloudy weather. There we can see all the types of traditional foods served such as pelmeni, shashliki, borsch and others. Foreign tourists can buy lots of gifts like matryoshka dolls, jewelry, icons and so on. There are lots of events to watch as well. Among such events, one can mark out the Barynya Dance Ensamble, the Parish School Performers, Ballroom Dream Dancers etc.
Of course, the main thing that attracts tourists and people all over the world is a lecture on history of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, conducted by the parish priest Father Valery Lukyanov. This cathedral has numerous opulent icons, wonderful paintings of saints and the marvelous Byzantine style of architecture.
Everything is welcoming and comforting you, the candles burning in this house of God and the sanctuary’s backdrop of the choir. Father Valery Lukyanov has been the parish for many years. First at the old church, that was dedicated to the honor of the Icon of Lady of Tikhvin. Later he came to St. Alexander’s Cathedral.
Father Valery is proud that he is a part of the Russian community and that his family lives in such a great town called Howell. The festival is held only with the help of people, sponsors, community supporters and others. The preparation for the festival takes months of hard work.
The costs earned during the festival will be spent on church repairs, seminarians, repairing of the parish school and community even on the Howell First Aid. Valery Lukyanov says that they welcome everyone who comes to their church without any requirements as to their religion and all who come here becomes a part of a big family.
This 8th Cultural Festival was organized by the Russian Festival Foundation. It prepares lots of activities for the people and tourists throughout the day. Live performances, games, traditional arts and crafts. That’s fun for the whole family. Here you can experience the traditions and beauty of the Slavic culture. Here you can see live performances by numerous dancing studios and liturgical choir as well as Russian school students who are also scheduled to perform.
It seems that every year more and more people from the former Soviet Union come to the Festival. The interesting fact is that 3% of the DC’s population consists of people from this former Soviet Union, and it makes DC one of the 7 largest areas in the USA that has former Russian nationalities living there.
The Festival became the family-oriented event that brings together the culture, music, traditions and food, national heritage from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. You can enjoy musical performances and songs. By the way, the DC has its own Balalaika Russian Orchestra with costumed singers and dancers as well as arts and crafts. There were lots of activities for little children who had a chance to make some unique crafts and even take their creations home. Besides that, kids could ride a pony, paint their faces and hear different stories.
Many vendors are selling their crafts at the festival. Among such crafts we can see matryoshka dolls.
These dolls are a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size. They can be placed inside of each other. The festival also includes the entertainment that features performances by the Troika dance group.
There were some new performances by Ballroom Dream at the 8th Festival. It is a dance studio located in the central Jersey. This dance studio is run by Dasha Sushko. She is a Russian Dance champion. Bu,t of course, the central event of the festival is the performance by Barynya. It is the world-known premier folk ensemble. This ensemble works outside the country. Barynya presents numerous performances connected with Jewish traditional dancing, Ukrainian Cossacks and different Russian school dancers.
So, if you are fond of foreign cultures and want to feel the real spirit of Russian traditions you have to visit the Russian and Slavic Cultural Festival.