Canada’s Ukrainian community descends on Dauphin this weekend for the annual Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival.

The festival celebrates Ukrainian Canadian culture and includes dancing, egg decorating, musical performances, weaving demonstrations, and cooking classes. The festival site includes heritage structures and artifacts showing how pioneering Ukrainian settlers lived when they arrived in Manitoba.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger made the trip to Dauphin to present Ukrainian pop singer and activist Ruslana with the Order of the Buffalo. Ruslana is scheduled to perform Sunday evening.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper released a statement marking the opening of the festival, commenting on the impact Ukrainians have had on Canadian culture. “At over 1.2 million strong, the Ukrainian-Canadian community has contributed immensely to enriching the Canadian mosaic,” he said.

Harper also highlighted the historic relationship between Canada and Ukraine in light of recent conflicts between Ukraine and Russia.

“We were proud to be the first Western country to recognize their independence from the Soviet Union in 1991,” he said. “During these uncertain times, with the (Russian President Vladimir) Putin regime’s illegal occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and its persistent military activity in eastern Ukraine, Canada remains a staunch ally to the government and people of Ukraine.”

Saturday’s festivities include two grandstand shows, one at 2:00 p.m. and another at 7:30 p.m., a Cossack tavern with entertainment throughout the day, and a polka party at 10:00 p.m.

For a full schedule and list of activities, visit the festival website.