A three-day celebration of Ukrainian culture which was forced to take a 3-yearlong in-person break, returned to Dauphin over the weekend.
With all the tension regarding the homeland of Ukraine currently in the world, Canada's National Ukrainian Festival (CNUF) gave everyone a chance to sit back and celebrate Ukrainian history, culture and food in what was a beautiful weekend in the City of Sunshine Dauphin, Manitoba.
Cory Lafontain, a board member for CNUF, says while they won't have final numbers for a little while, the festival had a great turnout, with the amount of attendees attending being somewhere in the thousands.
"If it (attendance) isn't close to or even more than what we've seen in previous years, I would be shocked," says Lafontain. "The overall response has been really positive. A lot of people have reached out to us through messenger, through emails or phone calls, just letting us know how much they appreciated the festival and the fact that they had an opportunity to celebrate in person."
Lafontain points out that with the influx of Ukrainians fleeing their country, the event noticed more patrons to the festival.
"We certainly saw some families from our community bringing some guests with them. Some of the people who may be living with them or staying with them from Ukraine."
The CNUF board member says that while money can be tight for those who have just come over from the war-torn country, the festival tried its best to accommodate them through volunteer passes.
"They appreciated the opportunity to volunteer at our festival and help out. Some of them were able to take in some of the attractions as well. So, it was a great opportunity to host these families and give them an opportunity to experience our festival and learn how we celebrate Ukrainian culture here."
Lafontain says that the 57th installment was fantastic, but the CNUF has already turned their attention to planning their 58th, 59th and 60th as well, noting that getting entertainers can be a lengthy process.
Lafontain took time in closing to give an immense shoutout to all who made the 2022 festival a grand return.
"On behalf of Canada's National Ukrainian Festival, we want to thank our executive board of directors, our staff, our volunteers, along with all of our performers, our sponsors, our supporters, our vendors and patrons. This festival would not be possible."