St. Petersburg Marks 310th Anniversary
Published: May 22, 2013 (Issue # 1760)
This weekend, St. Petersburg will celebrate its birthday early with citywide festivities on Saturday and Sunday preceding the city’s actual anniversary on Monday, May 27.
The celebration begins on Saturday, with the annual festival of street theaters on Palace Square. Theater troupes from Russia, Germany, the United States, France, Holland and Austria will all stage performances. The final performance of the day will be given by St. Petersburg avant-garde theater Derevo.
Also on Saturday, bicycle lovers can participate in three different cycling tours. The main route starts from Palace Square and traverses the historical city center. The others take place at the Primorsky Park Pobedy and at Divo Ostrov on Krestovsky Island. Cyclists who would like to join the latter should adhere to the dress code that has been set for the event, dressing or adorning their bikes in black and white.
While St. Petersburg isn’t known for being particularly handicapped accessible, the Central Park of Culture and Leisure on Yelagin Island will hold a special arts festival honoring the talents of the city’s disabled.
Sunday promises events on an epic scale. The celebrations start at 2 p.m. on St. Isaac’s Square with a chorus consisting of four thousand participants accompanied by a symphonic orchestra. The chorus gathers professionals, amateurs, students and veterans to sing the popular works of Russian composers.
An hour later, at 3 p.m., the participants of marching bands from various countries, including Great Britain, Italy, Turkey and Belgium, will parade down Nevsky Prospect. All throughout the day the ever-popular annual ice-cream festival will be held on Ostrovsky Square.
The final event on Sunday is a large concert of classical and jazz music on Palace Square. The performances by some of the world’s best opera singers and the Academic Philharmonic Symphonic Orchestra will be interspersed with the jazz variations of the Igor Butman’s orchestra and the Australian singer Fantine. The specially-equipped stage is already being constructed near the arch of the General Staff Building.
Sound and video will be broadcast throughout the whole of Palace Square, allowing all spectators to enjoy the performance. Moreover, the square will be briefly transformed into a dance floor, when everyone in attendance will have the opportunity to take a turn with professional dancers. Among the scheduled highlights is a dance performance by wheelchair-bound athletes.
“City Day is a birthday party for all of St. Petersburg inhabitants, so everyone should feel a part of the festival. That’s why everyone, including our colleagues and the security agencies and companies that won bids to hold events should do everything they can to elevate this day up to the highest level,” said Vasiliy Kichedzgi, Vice-Governor of St. Petersburg, quoted on the official city administration website.
The celebratory events will continue on Monday — St. Petersburg’s official birthday. The day will start with a church service at St. Isaac Cathedral and continue with the bringing of flowers to the monument of Peter the Great on Senate Square and a mid-day cannon blast at Peter and Paul Fortress. At 3 p.m. the season of fountains in the Summer Garden will begin.
In addition, 35 local theaters, including the Mikhailovsky Theater, Molodezhny Theater and Priut Komedianta, will offer visitors tickets for 10 rubles each.