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Ukrainian-American Day Festival to be held Sunday

BY: Mia Summerson | August 20, 2013

CHEEKOTWAGA - The annual Ukrainian-American Day Festival, which is organized by the Buffalo chapter of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, will be held on Sunday.

This year however is not just a celebration of the Ukrainian culture here in Western New York, but also a commemoration of the 22nd anniversary of when the Ukraine officially gained its independence from Soviet Russia.

Thought the festival is on Aug. 25, the Ukrainian Parliament officially declared its independence on Aug. 24, 1991, according to President of the Buffalo Chapter of the Ukrainian Congress Committee, Andrew Diakun.

“There’s going to be a dance group from St. Catherines, Ontario,” Diakun said. “There’s also going to be Ukrainian music, including an orchestra from Niagara Falls, Ontario.”

Others involved with the festival say there will be oil paintings from local artists featured and several different types of typical Ukrainian foods such as varenyky which is comparable to a Polish pierogie, holuptsi, a stuffed cabbage roll and kovbasa, a Ukrainian smoked sausage and beef and pork kabobs. There will also be many Ukrainian deserts.

There is a large population of Ukrainians in the Buffalo area, especially in suburbs like Cheektowaga, West Seneca and Amherst.

There was a large migration of Ukrainians to this area following World War II seeking better lives and employment opportunities. Many of them found work at Bethlehem Steel, the Ford Plant in Hamburg or the old Chevrolet, which is now known as General Motors.

“After World War II many came to the U.S. because they didn’t want to return to Soviet Russia,” Diakun said.

The Ukraine originally declared independence when Soviet Russia began to crumble in late 1989, early 1990, and was finalized a year later.

The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America is both an educational and a charitable institution. It’s mission is to support cultural, educational and humanitarian efforts in the States.

According to Diakun, many people attend the event each year and everyone is welcome, not just members of the Ukrainian community.

“People are getting information about a new culture,” he said. “It’s good food and good rimes. It’s not only a celebration of culture, but also of independence.”

“It’s fun,” said a source that involved with the festival. “I think its wonderful to celebrate other cultures and other people.”

The festival will be held from 1 to 8 p.m. on Sunday at the “Dnipro” Ukrainian Cultural Center at 562 Genesee Street.

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