The first Ukrainian Independence Day to take place since the Orange Revolution will be celebrated "the new way" according to the statements issued by the Cabinet of Ministers and the Kyiv City Administration, reported Aleksandra Matoshko, FirstNews.

Apart from traditional concerts in the city center and a brass band parade, Kyivans can expect the launch of thermal balloons "Ukraine-Poland," a sailing competition, "Kyiv Regatta - 2005" and free admission at all city museums and similar facilities.

The main difference in this year's Independence Day celebration is that there will be no military parade. "There is too much aggression in our life, so we should celebrate Independence Day with concerts and happiness, not military parades," Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said in her official statement on the observance.

The celebrations will start with greetings from the President Viktor Yushchenko who will address the Ukrainian people at noon from what has become the main stage of the country - Maidan Nezalezhnosti. A presidential press service statement said Yushchenko considers Independence Day the main state holiday and plans to spend this day with people of Ukraine, "who actually fought for independence."

Also during the day, Yushchenko, Tymoshenko, Vladimir Litvin and members of the Cabinet of Ministers will lay flowers at the monuments to Vladimir the Great, Taras Shevchenko and Mykhaylo Hrushevsky. Also President of Ukraine will take part in the festive mass "Prayer for Ukraine" at Sofiya Kyivska, a presentation of awards at Mariyinsky Palace and other related events.

Rather than the military parade, citizens may choose to attend sporting events of every type, including the paintball championship of Ukraine, a special hockey tournament, "Independence Cup" marathon championship, Kyiv open chess competition and many others.

Special cultural events include 50th jubilee city flowers exhibition, an arts event entitled, "There's no better land than the one called Ukraine" and a charity concert, "Ihor Zavadsky and the best young accordion players of Ukraine." Also, a movie festival, "New Movies of Ukraine" will also open on August 24.

The Kyiv City administration will use independence day to show off recent accomplishments with the official opening of the new Boryspilska Metro station and the reconstructed Yuriy Gagarina avenue.

As always the largest independence crowds of all will be seen in the evening at the traditional open air concerts in the city center. This year the concerts will be held under the motto "Independence. Europe. Future" on two giant stages, the one of Maidan Nezalezhnosti and the other on European Square.

One tradition that will not be broken is the conclusion of the Independence Day observances with a gigantic late night fireworks display.

The celebrations are obviously designed with the idea in mind to provide something for every Ukrainian on this day. However, for those with a yen for the regular appearance of goose-stepping Tax Police in the military parade, there will be disappointment.


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