‘Thrilling to have a good time our tradition once more’ – Winnipeg Free Press

During a year full of hardships, the Ukraine-Kyiv Folklorama pavilion provided joy and support for the community.

The pavilion officially opened its doors in person for the first time in two years Sunday evening.

“It’s exciting to celebrate our culture again,” adult ambassador Samantha Luczenczyn-Lane said. “I was struggling doing dance on Zoom. Now that we’re back, it’s even more dear to my heart to be able to step onto that stage and proudly wear the costume, dancing and celebrating.”Children perform at the Folklorama Ukraine-Kyiv Pavilion on Sunday. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

This year will not only be special since it’s the first year back following the pandemic, but there will be many new Manitobans who recently fled the Ukraine war this spring in attendance.

“It means everything to have them here. It’s been very special to have them come up to us after performances and we are going on stage knowing that they are with us, whether they are here physically or in spirit,” Luczenczyn-Lane said.

Some of the new Manitobans are also volunteering and working at the event to support their heritage.Oksana Denisenko, centre, demonstrates how to make a sunflower craft. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Sofiya Polishchuk fled Kiyv in May and is working at the pavilion with Perogy Planet. She said seeing an event like Folklorama means a lot.

“I was very happy to see the flag, our clothes and photos of the city I was born in. My heart is breaking because I miss my home very much, but I’m happy that Canada and its people care,” she said.

Olena Marchenko and her two daughters, Mariana and Olenka, moved to Winnipeg in June and are volunteering at the kid’s zone.ennifer Boreski, left, and Sofiya Polishchuk, a recent newcomer from Kyiv, serve food at the pavilion. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

“We’re very excited for Folklorama,” Mariana said. “I want to thank the people who support us and I’m glad I get to help and volunteer.”

This year’s pavilion acknowledges the resilient identity, heritage, culture and beauty of Ukraine, spanning over 1,000 years. The revenue from this year’s pavilion will be dedicated to support humanitarian aid efforts and assisting Ukrainians arriving in Canada.

Catherine Chiborak came to watch her daughter dance in Folklorama for the first time and said the event is important for the Ukrainian community.Tami Kowal Denisenko, right, visit the pavilion with her cousin Olena Marchenko, and her children Olenka and Mariana. The Marchenkos are recent newcomers from Ukraine. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

“Their way of life is being threatened and I’m a bit removed from it because I’m a third-generation Canadian, but we keep the traditions alive and this is part of it,” she said.

On Saturday, there will be a special performance by Hoosli Ukrainian Male Chorus, who sang the Canadian and Ukrainian national anthems at a Winnipeg Jets game in March.

“In the times we’re living in, with what’s going on in Ukraine, it’s important to show our heritage and share our culture,” Hoosli member and adult ambassador Myles Burdeniuk said. “The fact that Canadians and Manitobans have opened their hearts and their doors to Ukrainians coming over makes me feel proud.”Myles Burdeniuk plays the tsyvaly as people wait to enter the pavilion. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Burdeniuk greets visitors of the pavilion by playing traditional music on his tsymbaly, which his gigi made for him over 40 years ago.

He hopes to lift spirits with his performances.

“It means a lot to me to be playing at the pavilion. Not only do I get to share my culture, but my family.”

The pavilion will be open to the public all week, with a minimum of three shows each night at Maples Collegiate, 1330 Jefferson Ave.

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Ambassador Samantha Luczenczyn-Lane looks at some traditional weaving. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)Greg Slota, centre, serves food to guests at the pavilion. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

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