Veselka’s Hutzel Heaven celebrates culture at the clay ovens

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Veselka volunteer Zenik Rabiej assisted with loading the bread into the oven at Veselka’s Hutzel Heaven on Saturday at the Prince Albert Exhibition grounds.

The Veselka Ukrainian Cultural and Heritage Club hosted their first Hutzel Heaven event on Saturday at their clay oven and booth in preparation for the Prince Albert Exhibition.

Veselka members kicked the event off at the Exhibition Grounds on Saturday. Marj Bodnarchuk of Veselka said the day was about enjoying Ukrainian culture with family and friends.

“We are baking bread and our clay oven, and it is just delicious,” Bodnarchuk said. “We have some wonderful people in our tent just outside our food booth and they are showing children, and anyone who is interested how to do Ukrainian embroidery, which is just gorgeous and how to work with bread dough to make all of the symbols.”

The windy day allowed children in attendance to fly kites outside. Attendees also sang the Ukrainian and Canadian national anthems, and had a chance to win donated prizes.

Bodnarchuk said the event was basically a festival.

Despite the windy day there were children playing with kites outside.

“It’s just like a big party,” she said.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Veselka volunteer John Bodnarchuk loaded the bread into the oven at Veselka’s Hutzel Heaven on Saturday at the Prince Albert Exhibition grounds.

Veselka member Jan Olesko said they wanted everyone to enjoy themselves, but the event was more than just a festival. The group is looking for volunteers for the summer fair, and began their search at the event on Saturday.

“We do have a little bit of a purpose in it,” Olesko explained. “We are hoping to reach all our Members to do fellowship for a time together, but also we are looking for volunteers.”

The entire day ended off with everyone getting borscht and bread from the clay oven for a snack.

“Of course, when you’re enjoying such a day together, we have to have more than just bread,” Bodnarchuk said. “We have to have borscht, and then we’re also having hot dogs, but no buns. We’re going to be using bread instead for the buns.”

There were also prizes, raffles and a garage sale set up in the booth where the borscht was prepared.

“Then there’s a few sweet treats as well afterwards, and people can have coffee and lemonade and water and just enjoy visiting,” Bodnarchuk said. “It’s just a good time.”