Published: May 28, 2014 (Issue # 1813)
On May 27, St. Petersburg officially celebrated its 311th birthday however, city celebrations began days before. Kicking off the festivities was a choir event on May 24 held at St. Isaac’s Square, which saw almost 5,000 professional and amateur singers, aged from seven up to 92, gather together and sing.
Attending the event was President Vladimir Putin and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill, which was also dedicated to celebrating the Day of Slavic Writing and Culture.
“This wonderful tradition of choir singing has taken shape right in front of our eyes; we hear songs that unite our great Russia because these songs are the very history of our people, its culture and soul,” said Putin, speaking at the event.
The celebrations on Sunday started with an ice cream festival held at Ploschad Ostrovskogo. Children from orphanages enjoyed free amusement rides while all guests were treated to samples from a 500 kilogram pancake.
At 2 p.m. the same day, another choir sang on Birzhevaya Ploschad. The choir was made up of 700 pupils from school No. 56. Despite the heavy rain, the young singers still performed. Meanwhile at St. Isaac’s Square, the choir from the day before was replaced with a military orchestra from the Western military district.
At 5 p.m. more than 4,000 people danced on Nevsky Prospect, starting from Sadovaya Ulitsa through to Naberezhnaya Reki Moiki. All participants wore clothes in the colors of the Russian flag, with spectators also invited to join in on the fun.
A free gala concert called Gala of Opera and Ballet Stars was also held at 9 p.m. on Palace Square, which included both opera and dance performances.
“We were worried about the event after the heavy rain just before the concert as a lot of equipment was damaged,” said Ekaterina Galanova, general producer of the event. “It was the best present when the weather improved and, in the end, thousands of people attended.”
Celebrations on Sunday ended with a traditional firework display.
Yesterday, the city’s official birthday, flowers were placed by the Bronze Horseman, a monument depicting Peter the Great, the founder of the city. Celebrations then continued at the Peter and Paul Fortress, where the city was founded on May 27, 1703.