Fairy-tale is back: VDNKh's rink to show winter traditions of different years

November 22, 2019
Parks and pedestrian areas

On 22 November, VDNKh is to open the largest in Europe artificial ice rink again. The guests of the Russian chief exhibition will immerse in the atmosphere of New Year holidays of different years.

Read about the winter history of VDNKh in mos.ru article.

1954–1955: the first ice rink

For the first time, the chief exhibition of Russia became an attraction point for winter entertainment fans in 1954, after the complex's big upgrade. Earlier, the exhibition was open only in the warm season. The first ice rink had a natural ice surface. It was arranged on the grounds stretching from the main entrance arch to the Ukrainian SSR Pavilion No. 58 (today Agriculture), with the New Year Tree set up next to the Stone Flower fountain.

1960s–1980s: Russian Winter festival

Every year, VDNKh offered a more diverse winter entertainment program. In the 1960s,  Russian Winter festival was held for the first time to become traditional.

Russian Winter festival. Stage next to the Central Pavilion No.1. 1970s

In addition to skating, there were theatrical performances, animals tamers' shows, riding on the Russian Troika, sleds and even camels, fairs and circle dances. In 1965, according to newspapers, one could even enjoy reindeer sleigh rides at VDNKh.

The pavilions held meetings with theatre and film stars. There was a snow town and a hockey ice rink. The ponds on the Kamenka River regularly hosted New Year's festive bathing of winter swimmers.

In different years, the festival launched either in late December or in January, but it always finished in late February with big festivities dedicated to farewell to the Russian winter. The festive program was similar to the one arranged nowadays in Shrovetide week: it offered contests, dances, fairs and treats, including blinis.

1990-2000-e: winter trade

In the 1990s and early 2000s, there were no big festivities held at the exhibition, but it had a plenty of shops selling skates, skis and other sporting goods, New Year's toys and decorations. Skating rinks were mostly closed. In the early 2000s, a small site with natural ice appeared on the Central Alley for several times.

The Culture House in Pavilion No.84 was the only place to keep New Year's traditions even in the hardest times.  Annually, during the winter holidays, it hosted New Year Tree festive performances for children and their parents.

Skating rink on the Central Alley. 2010

Modern times: the legend's revival

True winter holidays' celebrations returned to VDNKh in 2014, with the launch of its revival. In the very first season, it opened the largest ice rink in Russia located on the grounds from Central Pavilion No.1 to Agriculture Pavilion No.58, around the Friendship of Peoples and Stone Flower fountains. Its key shape has become traditional.

Skating rink on the Central Alley. 2017–2018

In the 2018/2019 winter season, the traditional look of the ice rink had to change, due to the restoration of the main fountains of the Central Alley. It was decided to arrange two skating rinks: one rink around the historic flower garden, and the second one on Promyshlennosti Square, around the Voskhod launch vehicle's model.

In addition to the rink, VDNKh annually hosts fairs, opens tubing slide, offers interactive performances, New Year’s festivities, shows, master classes and exhibitions.

It is symbolic that the program prepared by the VDNKh in the year of its 80th anniversary includes the best traditions of different years. Representatives of different generations coming to the exhibition on the opening day and throughout the season will travel back in time of their childhood.

All photos are courtesy of the Press Service of the VDNKh

Source: mos.ru

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