50th Annual Ukrainian Festival has special meaning this year as war rages in Ukraine

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The 50th annual Rochester Ukrainian Festival brings heavy emotions for some as the war in Ukraine continues. The event continues this weekend, at St. Josephat’s Ukrainian Catholic Church.

A handful of people said they still have loved ones in Ukraine. Some say they’ve been in contact with, family, and a few others said their family members died at the hands of war. This year’s festival was emotionally different from years past.

“For Ukrainians it’s a little bitter sweet,” Andrew Hanushevsky said, the festival chairman.

This festival is a special time to share Ukrainian culture. Dancing, food, crafts, and more. This year, emotionally, very different.

“For some of us it’s with a heavy heart, because people back home, people in Ukraine are dying and suffering and it’s just a terrible thing,” Hanushevsky said

The war in Ukraine has been going on for about six months now. Ludmila Sulik says her family still lives in an area that has been bombed multiple times.

“My nephew lives in Vinnytsia, which the city was bombed many times but god bless he is ok, the house is ok everyone is ok, “Sulik said.

Sulik says, the hope for peace, radiates through Ukrainian’s, even as they continue to watch their country suffer.

“Still, people are very strong, they’re not going to give up, they won’t give up for any reason, but it is sad because we’re losing a lot of innocent people.”

This was the first in person festival in the last few years.  Sunday is the last day for the event. At 11 am there will be a mass at the church and a prayer for peace.