Food, culture, dancing and much more at the annual Russian Festival

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Dancing performances are a big part of the festival. photo courtesy of the Russian Festival

The annual Russian Festival is a unique cultural experience.

It’s scheduled to be held on the premises of St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church on Sept. 18 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sept. 19 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. The church is located at 9900 Jackson Road, near Dexter.

To learn more about this upcoming event, The Sun Times News reached out to one of the event planners, Snezhana Knysh, who said the festival is very friendly and welcoming, and open to everyone.

The two-day event is an encompassing cultural experience with traditions including food, dancing, and church tours.

In describing the event, Knysh said it’s an immersion into Russian and Ukrainian culture without ever leaving the Ann Arbor area.

“It is a very happy and lively atmosphere with an authentic vibe,” said Knysh. “There is a lot of energy. I should add there are many different nationalities who attend the festival, which add another note of authenticity. There are people who are eager to share their history, traditions, customs, food, dancing and singing with the guests of the festival.”

The festival was started in 2013 by church parishioner, Yulia Rodzianko.

“We wanted to reach out to our neighbors in a friendly and inviting way that would allow them to experience Russian culture and faith in a positive way,” Knysh said of the motivations in creating the festival. “We were very humble about it, but turnout and success of the first festival was beyond our expectations and we made it an annual tradition.”

The event’s church tours are led by Priest, Father Gregory Joyce, and they will include an opportunity to learn about the history of Russian Orthodoxy and hear the church’s choir. 

In the food tent, sellers will serve authentic food in traditional costumes, where as an example, one can have Russian tea with Russian sweets and/or ice cream.

“Since Russia is a big country and many people who are helping with the preparation of the festival came from different parts of Russia and the former Soviet Union, they are able to bring something authentic and unique from that particular region to the table,” Knysh said.

Entertainment will also include professional performances and the St. Vladimir's dance group.

Guests can also be a part of the folk dancing or they can find a souvenir to buy and take home.

And there’s much more, Knysh said.

“Yes, there is food, kids' corner, music, dancing, and many smiles,” she said.

So mark your calendars if you are interested in getting a taste of Russian culture. The parking and entrance is free.

photo courtesy of the Russian Festival
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