For the first time ever the Lithuanian Jewish Community hosted a party to watch the Eurovision song contest on beanbags in the auditorium on the third floor. Attendees included LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, Goodwill Foundation director Indrė Rutkauskaitė, Israeli ambassador to Lithuania Amir Maimon, veteran Lithuanian gay-rights activist Vladimiras Simonko, LJC projects director Dovilė Rūkaitė, Bagel Shop Café top chef Riva Portnaya and others.
Ambassador Maimon spoke, recalling earlier Eurovision events, and lamented he wouldn’t be able to vote for Israel or Lithuania this time. He relayed he had just spoken by telephone with Lithuanian contestant Jurijus Veklenko in Tel Aviv and said the Lithuanian singer was very positive about his upcoming performance.
Faina Kukliansky said it would be a sad world if we were all the same and praised the mixed crowd at the viewing party, which included senior citizens, young Lithuanians and guests from abroad.
Lithuanian Gay Rights League director Vladimiras Simonko also spoke about earlier Eurovision competitions and mentioned the Israeli music group Dana International had also played in Vilnius only a few years ago.
When the broadcast began the lights were lowered in the auditorium with around 35 people lounging on the beanbag chairs. The Bagel Shop Café had a small counter in the foyer where audience members were able to purchase snacks, small bottles of sparkling wine and cans of beer.