Celebration of Culture Day in Cleveland prelude to Kurentovanje

Cleveland, 6 February - The largest Slovenian community in the US, in Cleveland, celebrated the upcoming Culture Day with musical performances on Sunday. The event was a prelude to Kurentovanje or the Slovenian Mardi Gras Festival, which will start on Saturday.

Cleveland, US
The 2020 Slovenian Mardi Gras Festival in Cleveland.
Photo: Luka Zibelnik/STA
File photo

The event at St Mary of Assumption Church attracted a crowd of some 130 people and was attended by Slovenian Consul General in Cleveland Alenka Jerak.

Moderated by Joe Valencic and Luka Zibelnik, the event featured a concert by Martin Marsic, Tony Hocevar and John Nemec. Gaja Višnar recited Water Man in Slovenian and English, a famous poem by Slovenian bard France Prešeren (1800-1849), and Isabelle Kralj and Mark Anderson of Theatre Gigante from Milwaukee recited poems by Srečko Kosovel (1904-1926) in both languages.

Edo Ferrazzoli and Martin Marsic performed Johann Strauss's Tritsch-Tratsch polka, professor Timothy Pogacar read excerpts from The Visoko Chronicle by Ivan Tavčar (1851-1923), a Slovenian writer, lawyer and politician, and a group of children performed Slovenian folk songs.

Culture Day is celebrated in Slovenia on 8 February, which coincides with the anniversary of Prešeren's death.

As is tradition in Cleveland the Culture Day ceremony is held as a prelude to Kurentovanje, which has been organised in Cleveland since 2013. Starting on 11 February, the Slovenian Mardi Gras Festival will end with a big parade on 18 February. Kurenti, Slovenia's traditional carnival figures, will also make an appearance.

Kurentovanje will feature ten events, including presentations of Slovenian national costumes and beekeeping, wine tastings, concerts and a screening of the latest documentary by director Boris Petković, which is dedicated to the history of the Slovenian LGBT movement.

The festival is organised by the Slovenian Museum and Archives in cooperation with the Consulate General and other partners. This year's iteration will feature live and online events. Before Covid, the number of visitors went up to nearly 10,000.

© STA, 2023