APOPKA, Fla. — A Ukrainian culture festival scheduled for the Apopka Amphitheater this weekend is being revamped into a solidarity show.


Event organizers say many people expected them to cancel the event after Russia invaded Ukraine this week, but instead the war is drawing more people.

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The first events on the program were supposed to be a cooking demonstration, an eating contest and a tug of war.

Instead, Father Roman Kuzminskyi of St. Mary Protectress Ukrainian Catholic Church led the small crowd to the amphitheater in prayer.

“The Church has always been, was, is, and will be with the people, and our people have strong faith in difficult times that always turn to God,” Fr. Kuzminskyi said.

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The crowd made signs that will hang above performances and speeches at the amphitheater all weekend.

Halyna Hostetler is a California fashion designer who says she found out about the festival last week. Hostetler says she booked a plane ticket and started printing T-shirts to raise money for medical supplies.

“We worked three days, three nights, 24 hours a day, just to get here and talk about our country, promote our national symbols and raise awareness about Ukraine,” Hostetler said.

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Local Russians also showed up at pro-Ukraine rallies to show their support.

A Russian festival scheduled to take place this weekend in Seminole County has been canceled.

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