Last weekend Melbourne played host to the annual Maslenitsa: Slavic Pancake Festival, the biggest Slavic festival in Southern Hemisphere. The festival was held in and around the heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building, in the central part of Melbourne.
The festival was a great success with almost 50 000 visitors for only one day. This is the fifth time Maslenitsa Festival was held in Melbourne. It had everything from folklore performances, live music, cultural exhibition, art exhibition, Chainaya (Russian tea house), husky rides, effigy burning, games for kids, activities, and of course food and beer garden. Visitors were able to enjoy a wide variety of Slavic cuisines: Serbian, Russian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Macedonian and Bulgarian.
The festival was opened by the first Serbian female pilot, Biljana Savic, who was born in Australia and now flies for Air Serbia. The festival had many distinguished guests from the ethnic Slavic communities as well as local politicians among which was Matthew Guy the leader of the state Liberal Party.
The venue where the festival was held is surrounded by a garden which gave it authentic Eastern European look with green and tall trees. It was only missing snow and cold. This was compensated by different colours, flags, traditional costumes and the scale of the festival that even people in Russia itself and other Slavic countries could envy the success of Maslenitsa in Australia.
The festival was organised by the Russian Ethnic Representative Council (RERC) together with representatives from the Serbian community.
Meet the Slavs had a stall at the festival. T-shirt â€œI Canâ€™t Keep Calm Because Iâ€™m Slavicâ€ was a real hit, bringing smiles to everybody that read the message. You too can order it by sending an email to [email protected].
We look forward to the 2016 Maslenitsa: Slavic Pancake Festival and hope that it will be even bigger and better.
Here are some photos from this unforgettable event.