What’s Behind New Britain’s Upcoming “Pol-Uki” Festival?

By Olivia Jablonski

Managing Editor

New Britain is famous for holding Polish festivals since the city has an authentic side for Polish people in Little Poland.

But aside from just celebrating Polish culture and heritage, there will be a combination of both Polish and Ukrainian in a festival called “Pol-Uki” which is hosted by a non-profit organization called Maidan United.

Maidan United is based out of Hartford, CT and it raises funds to help Ukrainians directly and indirectly affected by Ukraine’s fight for democracy.

The organization’s symbol. Photo Courtesy of Maidan United, Inc.

The festival will be held on Saturday, August 6 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Falcon Field New Britain, located on 721 Farmington Ave. Tickets for adults are $10 and for children under 12 is free.

Sofia Dumansky, president of Maidan United, looks forward to the festival this Saturday. “It is a great way to bring two cultures together, because typically there would be Polish festivals competing with Ukrainian festivals, and we thought why not combine the two,” she said.

“Our traditions, heritage, food, alcohol are all very similar,” Dumansky said. “We get a lot of support from both sides, and most of our members are Polish and Ukrainian.”

Although the festival will be filled with all kinds of excitement, food, and music, the essential part of it mostly has to do with the purpose behind having the festival.

Dumansky stated that all proceeds from every event the organization holds nationally will be going to help those wounded and injured during EuroMaidan.

For this Saturday’s festival in particular, the proceeds will be going to help raise enough money to purchase a cough assist machine that will go to a children’s hospital in Ukraine.

Maidan United started after the 2014 Ukrainian revolution, in which there were a series of violent events involving protestors, riot police, and unknown shooters taking place in the capital city, Kiev, Ukraine over then-president, Viktor Yanukovych who wouldn’t sign the European Union agreement.

The European Union agreement is a treaty between the European Union, Euratom, their 28 Member States and Ukraine that establishes a political and economic association between the parties.

“The youth decided that they don’t want to be a part of a corrupt country anymore, and started the wave towards the new Democratic freedom,” Dumansky explained.

Dumansky said that as the Ukrainian citizens started the protests, the president reacted with putting snipers on top of the roofs of buildings and randomly killed people.

“About 100 individuals were killed during this act, and as a response to that Russia had sent the ‘little green men’ to fight back,” she said. “It became a full blown war.”

The “little green men” refers to the masked soldiers in unmarked green army uniforms who carried modern Russian military weapons and equipment that appeared during the Ukrainian crisis back in 2014.

Dumansky said that’s how Maidan United formed, to send medical supplies to support Ukraine during the crisis.

A poster board showcasing an article, events, and past festivals of Pol-Uki festival. Photo Courtesy of Maidan United, Inc.

“We don’t send anything else but medicine,” Dumansky said.

With it being the third year of putting out the festival, the organization has been successful with raising enough money to financially support those who are in need of medical supplies or equipment for the injured and wounded in Ukraine.

“Last year, the organization used the money towards a PTSD (Post Traumatic Syndrome) program in Ukraine,” Dumanksy said.

The year before last, most proceeds went to purchase medical supplies towards the volunteer soldiers in the country. “We are strictly helping medically,” she said. “With the current government now in place, they have started helping and having an army there.”

“Our goals as an organization are starting to shift a little bit away from the world war, constantly helping them, to helping kids as well,” Dumansky said.

The organization giving away wristbands, t-shirts, and pamphlets for support of Ukraine. Photo Courtesy of Maidan United, Inc.

The event will feature entertainment by Windstar Entertainment and Zemlyaky.

Feel free to donate $20 in person or online, you can save a life! Visit the organization’s website http://www.maidanunited.org/ for more information.