Posted on Wednesday June 25, 2014 at 10:13AM
By Hazel Anaka
On June 19th we welcomed media and other guests to the launch of the second annual award winning Babas and Borshch Ukrainian Festival, Lamont County’s tourism initiative.
We were impressed by and grateful for the media response because we know that without their interest and promotion our efforts would far short. Without exception they are gracious: from solo guys juggling a camera and a mic to senior producers to morning show DJs to station promotion people to our own Lamont Leader. They truly want to bring their readers, viewers, listeners stories about fresh, interesting happenings.
An Edmonton duo, Button Box Bill created a party-like ambience with their musical talent. Our tiniest, cutest, youngest guest Maisey MacDonald, created a stir with her dance solo and on her sixth birthday, no less. This little sweetheart has already won a couple of dance competitions and will be performing on Saturday at the festival. Also in attendance was Paul Gagne, Easter egg writer extraordinaire demoing this beautiful art form. I know now this Alberta Francophone took up this pastime when he married a Ukrainian girl from Mundare. Paul will be in attendance both days at the festival.
Trev Ruberry of MEG Energy, our kids’ activity sponsor for the second year and new sponsor Ecoliner’s Colin Warawa were also present. Our exclusive radio sponsor, CFCW was represented by program director Jackie Rae Greening and morning man, Gruff Gushnowski.
We were also pleased to acknowledge Gail Hall, Cobblestone Freeway and High Stick Vodka for their donations to our Silent Auction. Fun, experiential, brag-worthy items assembled for your bidding consideration.
Baba Magda and Kelly Scott, representing the Cheremosh dance company provided some great photo ops. Radomir Bilash and Slavka Shulakewych represented our society board. Radomir’s contribution of textiles, nesting dolls, mandolin and Taras Shevchenko artifacts enriched our colourful display of flowers and objet d‘art.
During Jim Newman’s opening remarks he announced that Lamont County is Borshch Capital of the World! I thought we were trying to conquer Canada first but hey, what the heck. Our new sign Keep Calm & Eat Borshch, the return of the Borshch Cook Off, and the addition of a borshch demo cooking class taught by Gail Hall are taking us closer to our goal of (national/world) borshch domination.
For the second year Sandy’s Ukrainian Foods provided the Ukrainian buffet of holubsti, pyrohy, kovbasa, pereshke, and more. Joe Synyshyn of Chosyn Catering and our Zabava caterer and indoor concession operator ladled out delicious borshch to those present. Smachnoho!
Lamont County staffers Heather Atkinson and Matt Pustelnick were on hand to help with setup, tweeting, and technology.
In my remarks I reminded people that last year we invited all Ukrainians and ‘wannabes’ to visit Andrew during the festival. This year we’re saying come back and let us help make some Bucket List wishes come true.
With the launch behind us and the souvenir program now at the printers, next steps include TV and other appearances and attending to hundreds of details, large and small. In my experience world domination doesn’t happen by accident from where I sit.
Author: Babas and Borshch Ukrainian Festival