Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

'Yamal is not only Nenets, reindeer and gas'

The second KedrFest 2022 rural tourism festival was held in Yamal

22 august 2022

22.08.2022 // From 16 to 21 August, the KedrFest rural tourism festival was held in Muzhi settlement and Novy Kievat village on Yamal. The first festival took place in 2019, the second had to wait three years because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But all the guests of the festival agreed: it was worth the wait.

The KedrFest festival is held in the Shuryshkarsky district southwest of Yamal.

'Many people think that Yamal is only Nenets, reindeer and gas. But we have something else to offer—stunningly beautiful unspoilt nature. We have no gas production, no roads—in summer, we can only be reached by river, no town either. But there is the freshest air and pristine scenery. And almost half of our residents are northern Khanty and Komi, who cherish their traditional way of life. That's why we have a lot of national colours. Even in Salekhard not everyone knows about it, so this year, we organised a promotional tour for tour operators working in the Yamal capital,' says Anna Brusnitsyna, director of the Luguya Land Tourism Centre, organiser of KedrFest.

This year's festival programme started in Muzhi settlement, where the Bears' Ear gastronomic competition was held. At the Ethnic Beauty Studio, guests could weave Khanty braids, undergo paraffin therapy with berries or get a manicure with traditional Khanty and Komi-Zyrian patterns.

'When we created KedrFest 2022, we wanted to embody the idea of a people's festival in which anyone can take part. And so it turned out that many of the sites were created by local residents,' says Anna Brusnitsyna.

The main venue for KedrFest was Novy Kievat village, famous for its relict cedar grove of incredible beauty. On 21 August, hospitable hostesses in traditional Zyrian costumes welcomed guests with cheerful songs, merry-round dances and tasty treats. There were many competitions ahead, both serious and humorous. The main event was the Sentyabrina competition, where six families from Muzhi and Vosyakhovo settlements faced seven tests of strength and dexterity. To win the title of best hunter and fisherman, the contestants had to run a skiing race, tell 'the stories', compete in shooting and cook over a campfire.

No one was left hungry in the tasting contest named 'Pour it on! Help yourself!' Here guests could sample rarities such as dumplings with raspberries and blueberries, kolobki from Muzhi, Zyrian wafers, herbal tea and beetroot fritters. The favourite drinks were cloudberry tea and cedar liqueur.

At the Obskoy Torzhok venue, it was possible to sample homemade delicacies and specialities from local artisans and take home some gastronomic souvenirs.

The festival participants played Slavic and Pyrrhic games 'from Vera Vasilievna' and visited the Panko-yam interactive venue, where they could ride horses and kaldankas, chiselled boats made of cedar. The ladies were captivated by the 'cedar photo shoot' surrounded by relict trees. The men especially enjoyed the 'At the Fisherman's Camp' venue, where they could fish for schurogayka, tasty mini pikes found in local lakes and rivers. The fishermen treated all the guests to a fragrant and tasty fish soup.

Nina Yeger, an old resident of Novy Kievat, led a tour of the legendary cedar grove and talked about its secrets, places and trees that have special healing powers.

'The local cedars heal not only the body but also the soul. There are trees in our village that fill the heart with positive energy. The secret of the residents' longevity is simple—you need to eat two needles of healthy cedar every day,' said Nina Yeger.

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