SPIFFS Person of the Year and Ambassador of Ukraine Taras Louchthik and Ihor Voryek were awarded with the title for their hard work in setting up the festival and their dedication to the Ukrainian American Association. The UAA is led by president Marion Serna and is affiliated with The Epiphany of Our Lord Church in St. Petersburg. “We’ve been in existence for over 20 years and we are very active in SPIFFS,” Serna said. Serna spoke of the troubles Ukraine is facing in Europe right now and said she will be visiting relatives in the summer.
hat’s the best part of America,” said Philippines native Dr. Teresita Sanagustin. “You can travel the world without the hassle of traveling.”
Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and his wife Joyce enjoy the evening with Gulfport Vice Mayor Michael Fridovich. Fridovich explained that his background comes from an array of eastern European cultures.
Such was the case in Gulfport on Saturday when the Casino once again played host to the St. Petersburg International Folk Fair Society (SPIFFS) Ball April 23. Citizens from all over the world gathered in traditional dress to eat, dance and represent their nations in a celebration that has been going on for 30 years.
Uma Levhram, Sathya Prakash, and Madhavi Sekharam show of their Indian traditional dress, the sari. According to Prakash, “It is the traditional dress that you wear every day in India.” The sari is about six feet long and wrapped around the body and worn like a dress.
SPIFFS Executive Director Lotta Baumann, a native of Sweden, chooses Gulfport to host the celebration because, as she says, “The Casino is nice and the people are nice.”
Baumann was also excited to announce the 42nd international folk fair at the end of October as well as the organization’s newest event, on May 21, call the World Day Festival of Culture Diversity.
“The United Nations has proclaimed that day as World Day for Understanding,” Baumann said. “It’s like a mini folk fair.” Find out more at spiffs.org.
natives of the Philippians, as well as Tea Bulut, a native of Belgrade, Serbia. Hermates describes the national costume of the Philippians. “To me, it is called Barong Tagalong. We wear it during special occasions; during weddings, former gatherings, or attending Malacanan palace,” Hermates said.