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26th Annual Russian Festival, San Francisco - Feb. 21,22,23, 2014

Date: 03/07/2014 18:19

Twenty six years ago, the Russian Festival at the Russian Center of San Francisco was conceived to celebrate  Maslenitsa and as a vehicle to raise funds by the community for the needed retrofitting of the Russian Center following the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989.  The  building, built in 1913, and once the home of the German Club, was purchased by the Unified Committee of Russian Organizations in 1939 to replace the Russian Club, which was opened in 1925 and the community had since  outgrown.  With a grand ballroom, theater, banquet room, bar, two catering kitchens, ballet studio, gymnasium, child care center and home to the Russian Library, Museum of Russian Culture, Russian Life newspaper and the headquarters of the national organization of the Congress of Russian Americans, the Russian Center this year commemorates its 75th anniversary and thus, the Russian Festival was dedicated to its 75th anniversary.   

The festival.has grown since its inception, when it was only two days.  Now it's a three day event, includes a disco on Friday night, a wonderful exhibit of local Russian artists, vendors selling Russian books and souvenirs, matrioshka stacking dolls, lacquer boxes, shawls and jewelry with rare Russian stones, charoite, malachite, jasper and other unique gems, traditional Russian food, including pelmeni, borscht, piroshki, beef stroganoff, chicken Kiev and an assortment of vegetarian dishes, coffee and teas from  a Russian samovar and a variety of desserts, and of course blini with caviar, herring, salmon, vodka tasting bar with an array of California and imported wines, champagne, mixed drinks and flavored vodkas and  Baltika beer.  

 

Throughout  all three days of the festival, a colorful and energetic palate of entertainment with Russian musicians, singers, dancers from the Bay Area and the US and Russia in intricate, showy, vibrant costumes, creates an atmosphere truly in the spirit of the Russian  culture and in celebration of maslenitsa.

During these three days, the community comes together to put together a truly magnificent Russian festival of history, language, culture, traditions with  nearly 4000 people attending.  And, this year, especially, with the closing ceremony of the Olympics coming from Sochi on the last day of the festival, the mood was indeed joyous and celebratory.   

Proud sponsors included SF Grants for the  Arts, Guzik Foundation, SF Municipal Transportation Agency, Wells Fargo, West & Praszker, Consulate General of the Russian Federation. Congress of Russian Americans, SF Public Library, and Russian Connections/Always Travel.

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