Ukrainian Fest: a Festivus for the Rest of Us

I’m sure you’ve heard enough about the Air and Water Show, and I’ve seen plenty of the Blue Angels flying over my rooftop in the past few days, too. So I figured I’d do something a little different this weekend and get to know more about my neighborhood (Ukrainian Village) at the same time.
The booths at the Ukrainian Festival 2004.
Let me just say this about Ukrainian Fest; at first glance, it wasn’t very Ukrainian. Sure, there were tons of Ukrainians there, and suddenly I’m the foreigner who doesn’t understand. However, there were also booths for MB Financial Bank (they’ve been in the neighborhood all of three weeks now), Western Union (send money to the Ukraine!) Mancini’s (an Italian restaurant/cafe in Oak Park), some weird liquid yogurt drink, and an ice cream truck.
the Ukrainian ice cream truck... booth. Er...
Seriously, an ice cream truck. THAT’s Ukrainian Village? Of course the incessant jingle, which he insisted on playing, was annoying EVERYONE. I felt so sorry for the other booths.
After I stayed longer, though, the truly Ukrainian booths made themselves evident. There were tons of little mini-booths that sold various arts and crafts. Let’s face it, all I care about is the food, and I found four food booths that could be called Ukrainian. Of these booths, one was done by someone’s grandmother who only cooks for these festivals, one was the Ukrainian Cultural Center who only does catering and banquets, and one was the Magic Jug restaurant way northwest on Irving Park Road, nowhere near Ukrainian Village. The fourth was Cafe Ballou, a local place run by a Ukrainian. Sure, it sells American style coffee and sandwiches, but at this point, I’m going to take what I can get. Yes, that was it, folks. Here is a place you can get food from that is actually in Ukrainian Village. One booth.
That's Christine at the Cafe Ballou booth, pointing to me and telling me I need to pay a royalty for this photo.
Maybe I’m being a little over-critical. A fest is a fest, right?
The singing and dancing on Sunday evening was pretty fun to watch. And who realized it’s been thirteen years since Communism crumbled?
Actually Herbie Hancock's 80s hit Rockit was playing... no, not really...
On a personal note, I didn’t win the big screen TV they raffled away, which really bummed me out.

1 Comment so far

  1. seanbonner (unregistered) on September 1st, 2004 @ 12:46 pm

    I used to live a few blocks from that park and actually worked security for that event a few times. Crazy stuff..

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.