Each year on February 24, we come together to celebrate Estonia's birth, or more specifically the anniversary of Estonian independence. We reaffirm the belief that our culture and language are so very important to us. The road has been rough and often bloody. But we're still standing. Here we are, a century later.

Estonians are in the midst of celebrating our 100th anniversary, called EV 100 (meaning Eesti Vabariik, or Estonian Republic 100). Part of the celebration includes the 33rd West Coast Estonian Days, which will take place at the UCLA conference center from 31 August until 4 September, i.e. Labor Day weekend.

The program includes three exciting additions. First, the Seasaare Theatre Group will perform a play based on Estonian historical events called "Kivilombi kabaree." Second, one of our guest choirs from Pärnu, Estonia, "Endla," will give a separate concert in addition to singing as part of the Song Festival. Third, from London, mezzo-soprano Monika-Evelin Liiv, accompanied by Marje Lohuaru, will give a recital. These three events alone provide a rich cultural experience, but of course the Estonian Days have even more to offer.

Event tickets and hotel reservations can be made until August 16. It's the last moment to think about travel plans.

Note that in response to public demand, individual event tickets are available. The best deals on all tickets, however, can be found by purchasing either a Folk Pass or better still, a VIP Pass, which allows passholders to attend all events.

All information, event tickets and passes, hotel booking, and more, can be found at: www.LALEP2017.com.

Edgar Kaskla
LEP/West Coast Estonian Days