The Festival of National Cultures moved to the Augustow Canal on 5 June. Visitors were offered to try Belarusian traditional dishes prepared to original recipes. Specialty dishes were brought from almost entire Grodno Oblast. Sports enthusiasts had an opportunity to take part in competitions, chicken races, as well as a fishing competition. Music bands and dance companies performed on the main stage. BelTA correspondents visited the Augustow Canal.
The Augustow Canal is a unique hydraulic structure built in the 19th century. The festivities began with a theatrical procession accompanied by the brass band of Porechie Children's Music School.
The procession participants carried the towel of Grodno Oblast, as well as the flag of the festival of national cultures that was hosted by Grodno for the 13th time this year.
The flamboyant parade was followed by performances of local artists. They showcased the Belarusian traditional culture as well as the culture of various ethnicities.
The food festival was one of the highlights of the festivities. Dishes prepared to traditional recipes were offered by residents of Smorgon District. “This is our brand - Smorgon abaranki. We cook them with deviations from the old recipe, but they turn out just as tasty. The main feature of our traditional dish is scalding the dough before baking. That's why we don't say ‘baranki', but ‘abaranki'. This method of cooking allows storing them for a long time,” Svetlana Babenko shared her secret.
Khonevich pancakes from Svisloch District were another local specialty. According to local cooks, in the past bread was baked once a week and there was not enough of it. By leaving a small part of the dough, adding potatoes and flour cooks got pancakes that smelled like bread.
“We have tried pastry from Svisloch. There are still many tents ahead where local original dishes are offered. In general, we have long wanted to come to the Augustow Canal, to see the local nature,” visitor Natalya and her son Mikhail said.
Nearby is fish soup from Shchuchin. To cook it, housewives simmer fish in a pot for three hours, so the bones are well boiled and the taste is special. “I love simple Belarusian food. In Grodno Oblast they cook it very well. As a child, and even now, I really loved potato pancakes. And here I tried different interpretations of them - everything is very tasty,” said Grodno Oblast Governor Vladimir Karanik.
Local lumberjacks held master classes that drew a large number of spectators. “We just show what we have learned working in the industry for 10 years,” woodcutter Sergei Yepatko said.
Fishing competitions drew both adults and children. 11-year-old Timofei Myslivets said that his dad took him fishing for the first time at the age of six: “Dad is competing separately today, and my mother and I are here. We have already caught a little roach. Although the result could have been better.”
There were also competitions for those who love walking and ... drinking beer. Participants were offered to walk a distance of about a kilometer while drinking beer at several points at speed.
Friends Elzbieta and Lyudmila were among the participants of the competition. Elzbieta came from Poland: “I really like it here. I'm very glad to be here, including at the Augustow Canal. I'm here for the first time. It's much fun.”
“We came to Grodno to study, and it so happened that we got to the festival. We like everything very much: cleanliness, people are polite and friendly. Everyone is so nice. We came to the Augustow Canal to see local nature, to have fun. We have only positive impressions!” - visitor from Kazakhstan Mashan said.
PHOTOS by Leonid SHCHEGLOV,