Russian Festival set for May 22


By Mark Ambrogi

Natalia Rekhter, executive director at the Russian School, last year at the Carmel Farmers Market’s heritage day. (File photo)

Natalia Rekhter, executive director at the Russian School, last year at the Carmel Farmers Market’s heritage day. (File photo)

The first Russian Festival far exceeded Natalia Rekhter’s expectations.

“Last year we had 1,500 people,” said Rekhter, who coordinates the event. “We expected maybe 400 or 500. We ran out of food to sell, items to sell. Everything was sold in three or four hours.”

Rekhter promises she and the volunteers will better prepared this time. Rekhter is the executive director of the Russian School of Indiana, which is sponsoring its second annual Russian Festival from noon to 7 p.m. on May 22 at University High School, 2425 W.116 St., Carmel. The festival is organized by the volunteers of the Russian School and sponsored by the City of Carmel Arts Grants. The Russian School is an enrichment program held on Sundays at University. Rekhter said there are 16 teachers at the Russian School, but the majority donate their time.

Festival admission is free. There will be Russian food, including borsht and pelmeni (Russian style dumplings), Russian-style desserts and pastries, and crafts for sale. Rekhter said all festival proceeds will be used to benefit the school’s programs and activities.

“There is a lot of music and dancing,” Rekhter said. “It’s very festive.”

Craft items that sold out fast last year were the Russian-style nested dolls.

The entertainment will include St. Nicholas Balalaika Ensemble from Ohio; the Indiana Ballet Conservatory; Ballet Theatre of Indiana and Russian Folk Choir.

The folk dance group Kabluchok, from Cincinnati, will perform Russian, Ukrainian, Kozaks, and other dances.

There will be performance by students from Rhythmic Gymnastics of Indiana, led by Julia Workman. There will piano recitals of Russian composers’ music, along with songs, dances, and instrumental performances by the students of the Russian School of Indiana.

“We’re going to have lots of workshops, and chess and checkers,” Rekhter said. “There will be a bounce house for the kids. We’re having a documentary of Russia.”

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