In summer, the city shops, restaurants, and gastronomy went outside with their products. Central city fairs were located on the city squares: first – on the Komsomolskaya one, on the site of the future Culture center, then – on Dzerzhinsky square, where the drama theater is now, then on the Metallurgists one.
There were pavilions, stalls with manufactured goods scattered on Gvardeiskaya square, and summer cafes were sprung up at the Lenin cinema (now the Norilsk Museum). Footwear, clothing, vegetables and fruit, various deficits were sold. The cookery fed the Norilsk people with their own baked goods, sandwiches, ice cream, sweets, barbecue. There were also thematic fairs for the Norilsk children – children’s clothing, sporting goods, bicycles and strollers, school markets opened in autumn.
A special attraction of the summer trade was vending machines with soda and kvass. They appeared in the mid-1970s. One could buy a glass of gas water with syrup for 3 kopecks at every corner of Leninsky prospekt. The soda was making a big profit: in the summer, daily earnings reached 3 000 rubles from all machines. For the winter, the machines were covered with shields and preserved, but those at enterprises, factories and mines worked all year round.
“Horse teams, buffoons with tambourines, balalaika and spoons players. Folk choirs and ensembles, various restaurants’ orchestras. Flower girls like in Montmartre, peddlers. A samovar row, pies, sbiten are sold from barrels. Baked apples, tanks with kvass and beer, kebabs, a win-win lottery, boots on a pole – get there, they will be yours! ” – this is how journalist Anatoly Lvov described the Norilsk summer fairs.
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Text: Svetlana Samokhina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive