The Vytoki cultural and sports festival in Novogrudok left a lot of positive impressions and emotions.
The large-scale holiday in the town with rich traditions and historical heritage gathered many residents of the entire Grodno Oblast and other cities of Belarus.
Closer to noon, Novogrudok was crowded and bustling: food courts were opening up, future participants of the Olympic quest were warming up impatiently waiting to win prizes.
The second day of the festival started with a noble event. Distinguished guests laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the monument to the soldiers who died in Afghanistan.
"The Vytoki festival continues its journey across the cities of Belarus. Today we have all gathered together in the ancient Belarusian town of Novogrudok, the first capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the place where the statutes of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were passed. Tour sports and other venues of our festival, be active, and get your prizes," President of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus Viktor Lukashenko said during the opening ceremony.
According to the tradition, Viktor Lukashenko presented the town with a certificate for Br100,000 for the development of sports infrastructure.
"We eagerly supported the idea of hosting the Vytoki festival in Novogrudok. You see how many people have gathered here. This is confirmation that people are tired of the pandemic and are looking forward to holidays and festivals. People want to socialize, to attend events where they can learn something new. And for the younger generation, this is a wonderful event to popularize physical culture and sports. The more active our young citizens are, the healthier our nation will be. I am sure that for young Belarusians who participate in different legs of the Vytoki festival, this will be the first step towards the sports Olympus. Someday they will glorify our country and will have the flag raised and the anthem of our state played in their honor. The festival popularizes sport and will help discover talents in the regions and reach every little Belarusian," said Vladimir Karanik, Chairman of the Grodno Oblast Executive Committee.
Mikhail Orda, Chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus (FTUB), one of the co-organizers of the festival, noted that to hold Vytoki in small towns was the right and necessary decision.
"The festival draws a lot of interest among townspeople, guests, and participants. In small towns there are many talented people. They are proud of their region, their history and such festivals are of great benefit to them. These are our Belarusian vytoki [roots],” Mikhail Orda said.
He also added that the FTUB pays serious attention to the development of sport in the regions and recalled that a football club was opened in the villahe of Ozdamichi as part of the Vytoki leg earlier in Stolin
"The festival fulfills its purpose. People come from other regions; children perform all sports tasks with excitement. They get the opportunity to talk with famous athletes. We are always ready to support children and contribute to the development of physical culture and sport," he noted.
The grand opening was followed by a sports quest. "The Olympic Quest" consisted of 15 tasks, one from each sport.
The president of the NOC of Belarus also toured the biathlon complex in the village of Selets where he got acquainted with the training conditions for children.
The sports complex includes a roller ski track with a shooting range and a ski facility. Skis, sledges and skates can be rented here in winter.
Meanwhile, in Novogrudok, competition on the sports grounds was in full swing.
"I really like sport, and there are many venues at the festival where you can try your hand and win a prize. I love weightlifting very much and, I think, I will cope with all the tasks," said Anton from the village of Malaya Berestovitsa.
“It is a great event. We practice basketball in Novogrudok, so we did well in this sport, and tried our best in other sports. My friend and I liked the prize. It would be great to see the festival taking place here again,” said Anna.
“We are from Minsk and are visiting the town. It is good that we got to take part in the Vytoki festival. A great event in the downtown of Novogrudok. My wife really liked it, and my son tried to complete all the tasks. He won a prize. We are all happy,” said Kirill.
The Belarusian Biathlon Federation introduced its know-how - an analogue of a small-caliber rifle. “All the participants were eager to try such a rifle, and even children could do it. It is a great prospect for the federation to see talented children and suggest them taking up biathlon. Our sport is always very popular at Vytoki,” Anna Veluga said.
The festival is also a good opportunity to promote the enterprises of the region. For example, Molochny Mir dairy is known far beyond the region thanks to its quality products and smart marketing. The company also supports sport, always provides assistance to Grodno Oblast athletes.
“Festivals like this bring joy to all people and promote brands including ours which sells into thirty countries. We are currently developing a special line of sports goods, and we hope that the festival will help us. Molochny Mir is a friendly and athletic family,” Deputy Director General Igor Novitsky said.
The Vytoki festival in Novogrudok focused much attention on folk craftsmen and cultural hallmarks of the region.
“I am from Grodno. This is my first time in Novogrudok. I examined all the sights, every monument with great pleasure. The festival gives such an opportunity to come and see everything with your own eyes,” Margarita said.
“It is really great that you came to us in Novogrudok! Today we have so many nice people, so many workshops here. This festival should take place here every year. Vytoki is about our roots, about where we all come from, where our culture and our heritage come from,” said Natalia Klimko, a folk master.
The festival in Novogrudok featured stands of the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus and Belagroprombank, the general sponsor of the NOC of Belarus.
The Emergencies Ministry also presented its stand. The MAZ-SPORTauto truck was brought to Novogrudok by its legendary pilot Siarhei Viazovich.
On display were also stands of the Belarusian Olympic Academy, Scientific and Practical Center of Sports and the National Anti-Doping Agency.
The sports competitions were followed by a presentation of clothing collections Rodnae-Modnae from Belarusian companies, designers and entrepreneurs.
The best young singers were named in the evening.
The best performer in the junior group was Diana Malyavskaya from Lida. Polina Bekish won the senior group.
The winners received diplomas and prizes and will be able to take part in master classes given by the country's leading singers.
The festival wrapped up with a concert featuring Belarusian popular singers and a spectacular display of fireworks on 18 June.
The cultural and sports festival Vytoki will next travel to Gorki (22-23 July), Polotsk (12-13 August), and Kopyl (26-27 August).
The main goal of the project is to showcase the potential of Belarusian regions through sports, culture, science and education.
The organizers of the Vytoki festival are the National Olympic Committee of Belarus, the Federation of Trade Unions of Belarus, the Arthaos and BelBrandAudit companies.
Press service of the NOC of Belarus
Photos of the NOC of Belarus