Monday, November 10, 2008
On Saturday I took Zhenya and Anastasia to the Russian Festival in Kalamazoo. We had a good time, as usual, though there were fewer vendors, and even fewer visitors, than in past years. Sometimes you really seem to see the economic downturn in action. Or, perhaps this was not a good weekend in Kalamazoo. Previously it has been one of the last two weekends in October. I overheard someone saying that a lot of the vendors did not want to commit as she was recruiting them during the time of prohibitive gas prices.
In any case, it was still a great event with lots of variety - everything from Russian wrestling (!) to choirs, to a play by a local charter school of a Russian folk tale (Vasilisa and the Golden Thread). Frankly I was squirming during the play, as I felt I could have: a) gotten a LOT more out of the actors they had, and b) done as well if not better with our Russian School kids. Of course, that requires children who will agree to be in a play, and I do not think our Russian school bunch fits this description. Anastasia enjoyed it, however and so did everyone else.
Anastasia had a terrific time - she met an old friend from her Detski Dom, Vasya, whom she had not even realized was adopted! I enjoyed talking with Vasya's mom during lunch (and as we watched wrestling). Anastasia also enjoyed the delights of a Silent Auction! And she gave great amusement to the ladies overseeing this event. Though there are always some really neat things available (and most of my "purchases" were Silent Auction purchases) it appeared that someone had donated a bunch of items that were of questionable "appeal" (to say the least!). For example, there was a painted lid to a china box (whose bottom was apparently broken), and some worn and stained linens. There was also an extremely old and tired little ornamental birdcage, complete with fake bird. Anastasia took a liking to this, as did Vasya's sister. Well, they kept outbidding one another. [Unfortunately] Anastasia "won" and we are now proud possessors of this item. She also purchased a few other things (most of which I expect were donated by the same "generous" contributor). Hence the amusement and delight of the "Silent Auction" ladies who I had previously heard debating about whether or not to even put the items out. I gather they felt forced to display these donations as the one donating them was present, but they found doing so embarrassing.
I was able to get rights to a few new, Russian t-shirts that I think the boys will like for Christmas or birthday, and a few painted breadboards in various styles, as well as some painted ladles, spoons, etc.
All in all it was a worthwhile expedition, though nothing like the fun of last year when so many people with children from Ivanovo converged there for a get-together. Now that Anastasia has discovered the Silent Auction, I've no doubt we'll be back for more next year.