INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Ukrainians in Indiana tried Wednesday to find some joy as war raged on in their homeland.
For the first time, multiple organizations came together for the Ukrainian Day Festival at downtown’s Indianapolis City Market.
There’s a lot of excitement in the air, but every day brings a different level of uncertainty in Ukraine. One thing that is a constant is the need to maintain and remember the culture. Organizers hoped everyone who came to the festival found a piece of the culture while also remembering the hardships that thousands still face.
There’s value in finding light in the darkness. The Ukrainian Day Festival was one way to do it.
“This is what’s keeping us sane, because if we were sitting around and doing nothing while everything is happening back in Ukraine, then we would be going insane. This is our sanity,” said Svitlana Ramer.
Ramer, a Ukraine native living in Indiana, works with the International Center, which is one of several organizations that led this event at City Market. She says it’s a chance to showcase Ukrainian culture, food, other local vendors, and so much more.
“We weren’t alone in this, so to have this is a meaningful experience for the Ukrainians to come here and to be proud to showcase in for people, and for the Hoosiers to come here and learn a little bit more,” Ramer said.
Inside the City Market, the daily vendors were alongside a series of organizations focused on supporting Ukraine. Mariya Plichta works with Ukrainian Society of Indiana.
“It’s very stressful because when everything started you hear you’re safe and you don’t really know how you can help. The first couple weeks were very very stressful,” Plichta said.
So alongside her sister, they sold items under the social media organization With love from Ukraine. The handmade items, from the beads to hand-painted pottery, are traditional to Ukraine.
“They are doing this to buy medical supplies, uniforms, and are donating everything to the Ukrainian army,” Plichta said as the event was underway.
She says with so much devastation, this is a step to support her homeland but also remind people the war is not over.
Although this is the first Ukrainian Day Festival, organizers hope by this time in 2023 they won’t have that threat of war hovering over their heads.