Simply Slavic Festival Returns this Weekend

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Simply Slavic, the festival that celebrates the Mahoning Valley’s Slavic heritage and traditions will return this weekend after a two-year absence. The festival takes place on East Federal Street, downtown.

The event includes Slavic food, Eastern European beer, cultural displays, a marketplace, a baking contest, Slavic folk music and the popular bonfire at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Admission is $5 (free for children 12 and under).

New this year will be:

  • Pivski, a European-style outdoor beer garden occupying half of a block on Champion Street. Sponsored by the Penguin City Brewing Co., this al fresco drinking, and gathering space will host the event’s primary bar featuring all varieties of Eastern European brews as well as Penguin City’s own signature ale and light beer.
  • The Garry & Wanda Mrozek Family Foundation Cultural Garden Tent with live folk-art demonstrations and workshop talks. Throughout the day artists will be creating paper crafts, wooden art items and Slavic-style wax Easter eggs. Informational talks also will be given on tracing your family history and Youngstown’s own George “Shotgun” Shuba whose “handshake of the century” is commemorated with a statue near Covelli Center.
  • A custom-designed ceremonial Vatra steel firepit specially created for the event by Columbiana-based Ohio Flame. This traditional Slavic bonfire will be lit at sunset, followed by live music.

The event showcases the traditions of the Mahoning Valley’s Slavic culture. It will include:

  • An Ecumenical Blessing and Parade of Flags with representatives from a variety of faiths and parishes featuring one of the region’s ethnic choirs.
  • A Slavic Kitchen featuring booths of homemade foods from more than a half dozen area churches, businesses and ethnic groups.
  • An Ethnic Heritage Tent where each of the Slavic groups from around the region will create exhibits to educate visitors on the culture of their region through items like maps, flags, pictures, language lessons and information on famous immigrants from that country.
  • A marketplace of vendors selling imported dolls, eggs, linens and apparel reflecting the varied nations of the festival.
  • A baking contest where amateurs can submit their favorite traditional items to be judged by area Slavic celebrities.
  • The Wasko Stage featuring music and entertainment throughout the day to include the region’s most colorful folk dance troupes.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.