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Schedule of Performances

All performances will take place inside the Cultural Tent located between the church and the banquet center.

12:00 noon
  Balalaika Ensemble
2:00 pm
  Balalaika Ensemble
4:00 pm
  Balalaika Ensemble
5:00 pm
  St. Nicholas Russian Dancers
6:00 pm
  St. Nicholas Balalaika Orchestra
7:00 pm
  St. Nicholas Russian Dancers
8:00 pm
  St. Nicholas Balalaika Orchestra

Church Tours

Tours of the church will be given throughout both days of the Festival.

St. Nicholas Balalaika Orchestra

The St. Nicholas Balalaika Orchestra had its first beginnings in August 1985 under the auspices of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church. Being the first of its kind in the area, it quickly developed in to a well-skilled instrumental ensemble that has brought about a revival of interest in the technique of playing the balalaika. The orchestra members are all amateurs of all ages and from all walks of life, participating entirely because of their love of music, their interest in Russian instruments on which they perform, and the pleasure they receive from playing together.

Their director, Mary Jane Malackany, is originally from Mckeesport, Pennsylvania. She studied under Father Dimitri Ermakov in Mckeesport and played with the Balalaika Strings of Western Pennsylvania. She is an active member of the Balalaika and Domra Association where she sits on the board of directors, an energetic church and community volunteer, as well as a wife and mother of four children.

Since its inception, challenging opportunities and memorable events highlight the orchestra’s musical travels: performances with symphony orchestras, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Balalaika and Domra Association of America Conventions, Russian Brotherhood Organization Conventions, concerts and a host of prestigious festivals and cultural events. Most recently, the orchestra had the honor and privilege of hosting the 2006 international convention of the Balalaika and Domra Association of America in Akron, Ohio.

For more information on the St. Nicholas Balalaika Orchestra, please call the Director at (330) 478-0026.

St. Nicholas Russian Dancers

Ethnic dance has been a tradition in the St. Nicholas parish since it’s founding in 1917. The St. Nicholas Russian Dancers were organized in August 1985. The troupe is made up of children and young adults—with some being their parents!

The St. Nicholas Russian Dancers have performed extensively at parochial, civic and primarily internationally related events throughout the Greater Akron area, Northeast Ohio and neighboring states. They perform original folk dances and variations of dances originating from Russia and the Ukraine, as well as other parts of Eastern Europe. Primarily peasant dances, they date back to the czarist era.

The costumes worn symbolize the peasant lifestyle—simple designs, vibrant colors, flowers, ribbons and embroidery. In the sense that dance is a physical expression and celebration of life, the spirit of the founding families of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church and many generations before them is proudly captured by the Russian Dancers.

Director Rosemary Pyrch Simpson studied dance for 15 years while instructing for many years in the Pittsburgh area. She has been the director of this group for 30 years.

In the Banquet Center

Russian Raffle — Win some fabulous prizes when you buy tickets for this unique raffle. Get your tickets and deposit in the box for the items you like best (your choice of up to 20 prizes). Just inside the door as you enter the hall.

Russian Imports — Inside the banquet center you will find one of the largest assortments of direct imports from Russia and the Ukraine available anywhere in the United States. We offer a great selection of collectable Matroshka dolls and Kokhloma ware. Credit cards are accepted.

Religious Articles — A large selection of icons, crosses, books and other religious articles are available. They are ideal for any Christian home and make wonderful gifts.

Book Store — presenting literature to further enlighten you in the teachings and practices of the Orthodox Christian faith. Many authors and volumes are offered for sale.

Festival Doll

Pysanky —The ancient and skillful art of decorating Easter eggs (pysanky) will be demonstrated throughout the Festival by talented members of our parish. Original, hand-written pysanky, gift items and all the supplies you need to write your own pysanky are available for purchase.

Poonchki —Traditional raised doughnuts are made to order, served hot and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Eat some here and take a dozen home with you.

Country Kitchen — Make a beeline for the Country Kitchen if you like home-baked nut or apricot rolls, kiffle, pastries, breads, paschas, cookies, cakes and candy. All are ready to take home today—enjoy now or freeze for later. Get frozen peroghi here too.

Dessert Island — Individual pastries and delicious sweets are served from this “oasis of sweetness”.

Carry Out — Carry Out available on the left side of the main food line.

Bar/Lounge — Enjoy a Russian beer or Kvass (Russian soda pop with a hint of rye bread flavor). We also have American beers and wine for the less adventurous.


Potato Pancakes —Traditional potato pancakes cooked just right—delicious on the inside and crispy golden brown on the outside. They’re delicious alone or try them with a side of applesauce or sour cream. Look for the potato pancake booth just past the hall entrance. Bet you can’t eat just one.

Cevapcici — Look for it outside, next to the the cultural tent — Ethnic meat treats made of beef, pork, spices and “grilled to perfection”. Served with grilled onions and bread. Yum! Look for it outside, just past the hall entrance.

In the Cultural Tent

The cultural tent showcases live performances by the St. Nicholas Russian Dancers and the St. Nicholas Balalaika Orchestra. The tent also holds many items for sale:

Souvenir Shop —The cultural tent’s Souvenir Shop features a spectacular assortment of ethnic gifts, original Russian folk music recordings, authentic Russian dress shirts, sweatshirts, T-shirts, glassware, aprons, and much more. Each year the items are different and breathtaking!

In the Church

Church Tours — Knowledgeable parishioners lead tours of our beautiful church and answer your questions about Eastern Orthodox Christianity and St. Nicholas Church. Be sure to see the new iconography that adorns the church walls.

Video Presentation — Have a seat and watch this fascinating presentation on Orthodoxy and our beliefs.