The event dates back to the last century and now this is a national festival. Since 1993, it has been held annually near the city of Smolyan in the open air, in a picturesque wooded area in a vast glade of mountains. There were hundreds of tents, thousands of cars and up to 300,000 of spectators. On four stages one could enjoy the competitive performances of numerous vocal and choreographic groups, theatrical costume performances, demonstration of popular martial arts, attractions, ethnographic exhibitions, fairs of wearing and carpets, decorative arts and crafts, demonstration of ancient customs, master classes of traditional activities in Bulgaria, preparation and tasting of national dishes and dairy products and showing of breeding animals, grown by the best farmers in the country.

Headed by the manager of cultural programs of the “Bessarabia Development Center” Mrs. Tatiana Stanieva, 117 of our countrymen out of 300 participants, performed rather well. On 4 May, the participants for “Rozhen” festival were selected at the “Bessarabia-FOLK” International festival of national creativity held in Ogorodnee village, Bolgrad district. At that time “Dulcaccia” vocal ensemble (Delena village, Artziz district), “Colorite” choreographic ensemble (Kamenka village, Izmail district), “Izvor” senior group of the dance collective and the soloist Yevgeny Shlopak (Ogorodnee village, Bolgrad district) took the first places in different nominations and were awarded the certificates on the free trip to Bulgaria presented by the “Bessarabia Development Center”. In addition to the named winners of the festival held in Bulgaria, the folk group “Fa-Diez” from Odessa and “Chusmeliy” dance ensemble from Krynychnoe village, Bolgrad district, financially supported by the “Bessarabia Development Centre”, have been delegated to the festival.

It should be noted that the performances of the Bessarabians won admiration of the audience and were highly valued by the jury of the festival. Ms. Eugenia Shlopak performed the song named “Bogdan Kalinka dumashe” under the accompaniment of “Fa-Diez” musicians and men even were crying. That song was about the difficult fate of a girl embodied the first generations of the Bessarabian Bulgarians, who had to leave their homeland because of Turkish domination, to resettle and to live in a foreign land among strangers.

Several performances of our choreographic and vocal ensembles proved the international level of the artists. The lively dances and harmonious folk songs were performed under clamps of the hundreds of people, recorded by different Bulgarian TV- and radio companies and stored on the mobile phones by the folklore connoisseurs. Such a collective interest was reflected in the results of the festival competition.

Ms. Evgenia Shlopak took the first place for her solo. “Izvor” dance ensemble (Ogorodnte village) and “Dulcaccia” vocal ensemble (Delena village, Artziz district) got the second places in the appropriate nominations. It was once more confirmed that culture and traditions are valued and developed in Bulgaria.

The large scale and massiveness of the “Rozhen” Bulgarian folklore festival is a good example for us. Currently, the events of such a level are not held in Ukraine. However, even all-Ukrainian festivals could be held in Bessarabia and it might be our goals for us; we have the necessary mobility infrastructure. Hotel and restaurant potential keeps on expanding so the last step we have to go is to elect into the local authorities at the regional and district levels the representatives who will keep their words and prove their patriotism and desire to move all spheres of our region to the new orbit.