The Troika Tradition Continues
Erie's Russian Festival kicks off Memorial Day weekend
MAY 26 – 28
Turn your attention on the golden onion dome beckoning along the bayfront. A colorful piece of the Erie skyline, the Church of the Nativity, is happy to host the Russian festival. This marks the festival's ninth year, once again over Memorial Day weekend. The celebration will feature a wide array of Russian food and culture for all ages.
Russian Fest has taken its place as one of the most popular kickoffs to Erie's summer events, including a handful of other ethnic celebrations. Dating back centuries, these traditions can now be embraced by people of all cultures and backgrounds.
Get ready to feast, as well as dance, though not necessarily in that order.
Renowned folk ensemble, Barynya, will be the featured performers again this year. Founded in New York City in 1991, the group has grown into the premier Russian folk ensemble outside of Russia itself. Led by accordionist Mikhail Smirnov, Barynya has performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall to The Today Show. The ensemble blends acrobatic Eastern European dances with colorful authentic costumes and musical virtuosity. They will be performing several times each day throughout the weekend, entertaining audiences with their energetic program.
Authentic hand-made dishes will be served, including hearty items with names like vareniki, borscht, and golubtsy. Treats like matryoshka and skansi should pique your interest, as well as your taste buds. Diners can also enjoy some beef stroganoff, a fan favorite.
The name "troika" literally refers to a three-horse sleigh used in Russian winters. The Church of the Nativity took one look at the three golden domes that top their church and saw a similar trio at work. If you've ever wanted to go under the dome and see the inside of the church, this is your chance. Self-guided tours will be available all weekend. You'll be amazed by the captivating Byzantine iconography by Erie native Theodore Jurewicz. A world-renowned fresco muralist, Jurewicz has hand-painted churches throughout the country.
You can sip on an imported beer, or grab a shot at the vodka ice bar. But don't worry, the event is very family friendly, with a children's area perfect for the kids. – Nick Warren
4 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 26; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 27; 8:15 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, May 28 // 109 German St. // free // churchofthenativity.net/troika/