What do Star Trek, disposable diapers, and David Schwimmer have in common? They are all younger than Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival. With this summer marking the annual Dauphin fest’s 50th year, CNUF has gone from an event to an institution to a full-blown Manitoba cultural tradition.
The festival, held in Dauphin’s Selo Ukraina heritage village, is a massive celebration of Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Canadian historical cultures. Multiple stages of music and dance performance, traditional folk arts and crafts, camping and delicious food are just a fraction of the activities that can be found at this year’s milestone festival.
“Our ticket sales have really gone overboard this year,” CNUF president David Katcsma says of the still-growing festival. “The entertainment we’re bringing in this year is top-notch. For dancing alone, we had over 200 submissions. Normally we don’t even get close to that. We have to open up more camping areas in the lower campground, because the upper and lower levels were totally sold.”
Katcsma says that the growing popularity of the fest comes from its broad, universal appeal.
“It’s a family, fun-filled weekend,” he says. “You don’t have to be Ukrainian to enjoy it. There are hands-on educational activities for children, we’re aiming at youth and young adults with the entertainment we’re bringing in. We have five full grandstands booked solid. We went all out this year to give people a good taste of what the fest is all about.”