Chicago's Uketoberfest features the best of Ukrainian culture with proceeds to help Ukraine

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Sunday, August 14, 2022
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A two-day festival in Chicago, dubbed, Uketoberfest, brings together the best of Ukrainian arts and crafts, food and music.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's been three years since Chicago's St. Joseph Ukrainian Catholic Church has been able to hold its annual celebration of all things Ukrainian.

Dubbed "Uketoberfest," the two-day festival brings together the best of Ukrainian arts and crafts, food and music.

In the past, the festival has served as a fundraiser for the Parish. But not this year, not with a war raging in Ukraine.

"It's affecting us every day. There is always someone who has family, I would say 95% of the parish have their family members directly affected by the war," said Father Mykola Buryadnyk, with St Joseph Ukrainian Catholic Church.

To that end, all of the proceeds gathered at the event will be going to help the humanitarian effort in Ukraine, with a lot of the aid directed towards wounded soldiers.

RELATED: Illinois Helps Ukraine: From Chicago to the suburbs, residents step up

Also focused on helping the war effort is Help Heroes of Ukraine, a Carol Stream-based non-profit that sends Ukrainian fighters everyday items to help sustain them.

"Bulletproof vests, bulletproof helmets, tourniquets -- something to save lives," said David Bovik, a volunteer with Help Heroes of Ukraine.

It is an effort that is appreciated by those here.

Among the 10,000 people expected to attend the festival this weekend are refugees, like 25-year-old medical student Sofeya Beskrovna. She left Ukraine along with her mother last month and is now living temporarily with a cousin in Chicago.

RELATED: Ukraine-Russia War: Chicago welcomes Ukrainian refugees

"All during the day, all during the night, we hear the alarm, you know, and we just waiting if bomb is coming or not," Beskrovna recalled.

The two-day festival continues Sunday from 3 pm to 9 pm.