We don’t hear a whole lot about Russian culture in Michigan. According to sources we found
, less than 1 percent of Michiganders trace heritage to Russia. While our part of the state abounds with celebrations of various ethnicities, they don’t usually feature babushkas and borscht.
That, however, has changed. This weekend, for the fourth year in a row, the Russian Festival
will draw thousands of visitors to Dexter, where the aroma of home-cooked Russian cuisine will waft over the grounds of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Church. Foods will include Russian summer salads, tender morsels of shashlik, sweet and savory blintzes, even slices of seven-layer Napoleon Russian cake. There will even be an opportunity to sample unusual Russian beers and infused vodkas.
It promises to be an immersive experience that it engages all the senses, with a special emphasis on music and performance. The stage will feature several performers from Russia who’ll fly in just for this special event, including the Georgian Dance Ensemble Rustavi
and a chamber quartet from St. Petersburg called Konevets
as well as Ohio-based ensemble Moscow Nights
. Russian folklorist Anastasia Klimzo will perform Russian tales in song and dance.
There will be Russian bell-ringing, a Russian puppet show, traditional hair-braiding, chess instructors, and tours of the church. There will also be some fun stuff for the kiddies as well, such as a chicken farm, a petting zoo, a bounce house, and a playground, as well as ice cream and crafts.
The festival runs 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 and 1-7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, at St. Vladimir Orthodox Church, 9900 Jackson Rd., Dexter; see annarborrussianfestival.org for more information.