Mariinsk Festival

A unique costume festival in Siberia

Gemar are involved in a lot of events but I think it’s safe to say that the Mariinsk festival in Siberia is truly unique.

Mariinsk is a small town, almost 4000km from central Russia. It’s not easy for local balloon artists to travel to other events, so this was an opportunity to bring the fun of a balloon festival to them. Everyone was thrilled to have the chance to meet and work together, the atmosphere was one of joyful collaboration as everyone pulled together.

Instead of a competition, this event was about the simple joy of creating balloon art for pleasure. Exploring creativity and ingenuity to see what might come of it, and working together to create something spectacular. The five teams, each with an expert leader, worked together. After all, when we collaborate we can push each other to reach greater heights!

The festival began with two days of education and practice, where the participants had the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques from instructors Alexander Solomatin and Dmitry Novikov, as well as Gemar Ambasador Irina Gvozdenko, who was the artistic director. They created some astounding costumes and wearable sculptures, true works of art. Many of the participants were able to work with Gemar balloons for the first time and several commented on the quality and colours, perfect for true professionals.

Next came festival day! A huge number of people gathered on the streets in Mariinsk to watch a procession of balloon art. They cheered, took photos, admired every detail and even reached out to touch the balloons in disbelief. It’s rare to see so many smiling faces! In fact the community appreciated the festival so much that each participant was invited onto the main stage in town and presented with a letter of thanks.

It was a truly astounding event and we can’t let the opportunity pass without thanking Elena Prishchits. Most events are organised by a company, with a team of people working to bring everything together. In contrast the Mariinsk festival was organised entirely by Elena, simply to bring a joyful holiday to her town, and to local balloon artists.

Elena, congratulations. It was a wonderful success and one of the brightest events of the year.