APOPKA, Fla. - Organizers of Orlando’s Ukrainian Festival expected their stage to be filled with dancing and the songs of a happy people. Instead, they are preparing to sing songs of national pride and tell the story of defiance in the face of war.
"The war in Ukraine is not a war between Ukraine and Russia. It's a war between good and evil in this world," said organizer Vasyl Boichook.
As the technicians set up the stage, the music they'll play will be about standing united and strong. The vendors started setting up their tables to sell Ukrainian foods and traditional clothing, and clothes that show Ukrainian solidarity and friendship with the U.S.
"We have so many responses from Americans I could not even imagine. Even today people are stopping, and they have Ukrainian T-shirts and stuff, and they're not Ukrainian," said Roxie, one of the event’s organizers.
The festival is Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Apopka Amphitheater from noon to 8 p.m. Some folks who showed up early on Friday said they were hoping for a miracle.
"They're standing strong, though the odds are against them," said Oxana Lapchuk, "and we're just praying and believing that they will overcome."
The organizers have set up a website where you can donate to the Ukrainian relief effort. You can find more information here.