Monday, July 6, 2015

G50

The summer of 2015 is a momentous time for Latvian-Americans, especially those living in the Midwest; this past weekend was the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the Latvian Center Gaŗezers in Michigan. In 1965 a group of forward-thinking leaders found and purchased property near Three Rivers that used to be a YMCA camp, and therefore had some of the amenities in place to form the foundation of what would 50 years later be a summer camp, high school, cultural and spiritual center, a hub of sports activity including the infamous volleyball weekend, as well as the heart of Latvian activity in the Midwest. It was where I first met Roberts and where I married him. We were wed by one of the visionaries who founded Gaŗezers, Vilis Vārsbergs, who also christened me when I was a baby, and thirty years later christened Lauris (on the shore of Gaŗezers) and Mikus. There’s an interesting article on Gaŗezers from the perspective of a writer living in Latvia (Tatjana Žagare-Vītiņā) in this week’s edition of Ir – “Satikušies” – which features a picture of a much younger Roberts with a few of his summer co-conspirators as a centerfold!


From all the pictures and reports coming out of Mazā Latvija (Little Latvia) it seems to have been a successful event, complete with “Gaŗezers-palooza” featuring musical acts the like of which haven’t been heard from in over twenty years such as Frikadeļu Zupa & Bob and the Latvians, as well as ones still rocking in Latvia today, like Pērkons and Čikāgas Piecīši. With an art fair specially curated for the occasion, a golf tournament, 4th of July fireworks, “Taste of Gaŗezers,” food trucks, a screening of Māra Pelēcis’ documentary on Gaŗezers and a variety of other events, this was a not-to-be missed once-in-a-lifetime affair.



Of course we missed it. It just so happened that we were in lielā (as opposed to little) Latvia, although I guess that’s a better excuse than many, and a story for another time…



7 comments:

  1. It was GREAT! Wonderful weather, mellow atmosphere, lovely people, good music, good food. Couldn't walk more than five steps without meeting someone that you possibly haven't seen for years! (like 5-20-40!)

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    1. We'll just have to wait for G75!

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  2. Frikadelu zupa izklausas labi grupas nosaukumam. Bet Cikagas piecisi vel tagad atmina man. Pirmais lielo koncerts Mezaparka,un es pat ka 10gadigs berns sapratu,ka vini dzied par musu nakotni,kas vel tad bija saubiga statusa. Vai Jus esat atbraukusi uz Dziesmusvetkiem?Es busu LV no 15.julija.

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    1. Vienmēr esmu gandarijumā, par to cik sirsnīgi Čikagas Piecīšu fani ir LV... Cik vareni, ka biji 10 gadu vecumā viņus redzēt! Par Dziesmu Svētkiem ar būs kāds posts...

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  3. I won't lie - you did miss an *amazing* weekend! Your mom summed it up well. :) It will take me a while to write up a post - hopefully by the end of this week, though.

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    1. :) Yes, it will be more than one, although I don't have that many good photos of the actual events - my camera cannot handle fireworks!

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