89 - ukrainian festival parma

40.) Ukrainian Festival – Parma – August 7, 2010

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While heading back from the Twins Day Festival, we stopped in Parma for the Ukrainian Festival, hosted by the Pokrova Ukrainian Catholic Parish. In many ways, it was constructed like a Greek festival with a dining area…

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…cafeteria style food service…
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…cultural entertainment as you ate…
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…and various gift ideas to check out once you finished.
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Outside, beyond a small dining area…
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…there were more cultural items to purchase…
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…some booths held by Ukrainian organizations or parish members with inflatables for the kids…
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…and even occasional performers getting ready for the main event inside.
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But there was one characteristic that the Ukrainians must have learned from the Hungarians
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…food tickets.
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And even with all these people in line…

…to prevent us from seeing what the food actually was…

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…we still had to buy tickets here beforehand.
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This was problematic, just like it was at other festivals with food ticket systems. Instead of buying dishes based on what looked good or interesting, we needed to develop a plan and buy tickets in advance. Once we had the tickets, we would have to remember our order, so as to have the correct number of tickets when we presented our food to another set of volunteers.

Not only did this make us want to order less (in order to remember what we were buying), but it left out any room for spontaneous purchases. I honestly can’t imagine people buying more with this system. And I can’t imagine how the second table of volunteers wasn’t capable enough to take our money and give us change (I don’t even want to consider honesty as a factor in using this system at a parish event).

So instead of simply buying anything that looked good as we stood in line, we felt forced to buy (and split) a sampler meal. That way, it was simple to order and we could still get some variety. We settled on this…

…the Baba’s Choice (3 pyrohy, 1 pyrizhky, 1 meat blintz, stuffed cabbage, and borsch).

I’m glad we split it because it was only OK, even if we ended up eating most of it. At least there would be the desserts. I figured it would be like the baked goods area at the Serbian Festival.

We reentered the dining hall and went into a side room, where we found some tables with many Ukrainian gifts.

There was an interesting variety of cultural items…

…for children…

…egg lovers (both decorators and epicureans)…

…the religiously devoted…

…the proud…

…and the fashionable (not including the guy in the mirror).

But we still never saw a dessert section.

We headed back out into the dining hall and asked a volunteer. Unfortunately, the only desserts for purchase…

…were these.

So I thanked her and we started to head out, passing people as they drank their borsch and listened to children singing Ukrainian melodies.

We, on the other hand, went out for more food and ice cream.

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