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Pillerkaar NATO

On April 29, 2019, Pillerkaar Estonian Folk Dancers from the greater Washington, DC area, performed at the NATO festivities in Norfolk, Virginia.

The end of April is a festive time of year when NATO's Allied Command Transformation hosts the annual NATO Festival. 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of Laulupidu and 15 years of NATO membership for Estonia. For the sixth year, Pillerkaar made the lengthy four hour drive to participate in the festivities. The energetic dancers arrived in downtown Norfolk early Saturday morning to ride the Estonian float in the Parade of Nations, which they constructed and decorated. Following the parade, the party shifted to Town Point Park for the International Village festivities.

Each of the 29 NATO member states provided a tent for members of their delegation to greet festival guests, provide information about their countries, and perform on stage. Pillerkaar performed a number of Estonian folk dances and later invited onlookers to participate in learning a few of them! Pillerkaar also participated in some Polish dances with Michas Polish Folk Dance Ensemble from Virginia Beach, friends from a previous NATO Festival.

This event has served as Pillerkaar's unofficial start of the summer season for several years, as the group has taken the opportunity to extend this performance weekend into a beach trip. After dancing Saturday afternoon, the group enjoyed an evening of fellowship on the beach at sunset (including some folk dancing – see the Facebook page for video) and dinner around the grill. Please visit for more pictures or to find information about becoming a dancer.


Jeff Zelek, Anu Oinas,


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