The 20th annual BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival takes place in Mission on Saturday

Ukrainian Cultural Festival returns to Mission

The annual festival involves 300 performers from areas including Mission, Abbotsford, Surrey, Richmond, Kamloops, Vernon and Prince George.

The 20th annual BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival takes place Saturday, May 2 at the Clarke Theatre in Mission.

The annual festival will involve 300 performers in troupes from areas including Mission, Abbotsford, Surrey, Richmond, Kamloops, Vernon and Prince George.

“When we started this 20 years ago, we never dreamed that it would grow this large,” said Gladys Andreas, originator of the festival.

“When the Hopak comes on, the festival theatre is standing room only.”

Andreas, who has been recognized nationally and internationally for her contribution to Ukrainian culture in Canada, will be the official “hospodynia” (hostess) for this year’s event.

She and her Ukrainian Prairie Band will be one of several musical groups

performing at various locations throughout the venue.

The festival will feature dances, colourful costumes, live music, booths with Ukrainian arts and crafts, and a kitchen serving Ukrainian food.

“It is the showcase for Ukrainian culture in British Columbia,” said Nathan Nychyporuk, president of the BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival Society and chair of the festival organizing committee.

The opening ceremony is slated for 8:25 a.m., with performances beginning immediately afterwards and continuing throughout the day. All are adjudicated.

Highlights include the “Previt” – Ukrainian welcome dance – at approximately 2 p.m., and the “Hopak” – the national dance of Ukraine, and each troupe’s showcase performance – at about 5 p.m.

Barvinok of Seattle won last year for the best Previt, and AUUC of Vancouver claimed the trophy for the best Hopak.

Tickets are available at the door. Clarke Theatre is located at Heritage Park Centre, 33700 Prentis Ave.

For more information about the festival, visit bcucf.ca.