Polish Platter Dinner

St. Mary R.C. Church (857 Kenneth Ave., New Kensington, PA 15068) will host a Polish Platter Dinner (pierogi, golabki, haluski, kielbasa, string beans polonaise, dinner roll, beverage) on Sunday, October 2, at their Friendship Hall. Dinner price is $11 and eat-in is available from noon to 4 p.m. Take-out is available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For additional information, please call 724-335-8212.

Second Johnstown Slavic Festival

(JOHNSTOWN, Pa.) – The second Johnstown Slavic Festival is coming to town on Saturday, September 17, with Slavic music, dance, food, speakers, cooking demonstrations, crafts, children’s activities, and more. The free festival will be held in the parking lot and courtyard of the Heritage Discovery Center in Johnstown.

Dr. Gerald Zahorchak, a member of the committee that works to produce the Slavic Festival, said, “I’m pleased to be a part of a community where residents truly honor and respect their roots. This year’s Festival builds on last year’s great debut. The all-day event provides a terrific place for thousands to gather and enjoy authentic food, lectures and entertainment while learning more about the wonderful Slavic nations whose people came to help build America.”

Music and dance programs presented at the 2016 Slavic Festival will including tamburitza music, Ukrainian fold dance, Balkan Brass music, and polka. The stage for the performances will be located in the Heritage Discovery Center parking lot.

Speakers on a wide range of related topics will be presented in the Education Center of the Heritage Discovery Center. Food demonstrations will be presented in the café of the Heritage Center.

Authentic Slavic food will be sold in the courtyard of the Heritage Discovery Center. Vendors include St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church (Conemaugh), serving halusky and pugich; Kraus Polish Deli (Youngstown), with pierogi, kelibasa sandwiches, stuffed cabbage and more; Darlington Inn, with gulas, borsch, halupky and more; St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church, with chevop sausage sandwiches; the Phoenix, serving Slavic specialties; and Custom Cakes and Cookies (Johnstown), with nut rolls and cookies. Beer imported from Slavic countries will also be available for sale.

Several Slavic crafts vendors will have wares for sale, as well as non-profit Slavic heritage organizations. A Bulgarian cooking demonstration will also be presented.

Discounted admission to the Heritage Discovery Center of $5 will be offered during the Slavic Festival. Exhibits include “America :Through Immigrants’ Eyes,” an interactive experience that puts the visitor in the place of a recent immigrant to Johnstown 100 years ago, as well as the multi-media program “The Mystery of Steel.”

“The festival is a terrific tie-in to the exhibits and presentations at the Heritage Discovery Center,” said Richard Burkert, JAHA president. “Many of the immigrants to the area who came to work in the mills and mines of Johnstown were Slavs.”

The Slavic people immigrated from nations we know today as Belarus, Bosnia and Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Macedonia, and Ukraine. The Slavs also include the Carpatho-Rusyn people, whose descendants are present in our area.

From 1880 until 1920, thousands of Slavic immigrants came to Johnstown to find employment in the area’s mills and mines. By 1920, 25 percent of Johnstown’s residents were of Slavic descent. They created a rich network of churches and social clubs to support their way of life and culture.

The festival is being organized by a volunteer committee. Members include Dan Kisha, Dr. Gerald Zahorcak, Barry and MaryAnn McCaffrey Ritko, Ed Cernic, Sr., Brian Subich, Mike Kozak, Suzette Gardenhour, and Rick Kopco.

More than 25 donors supported the first year of the festival, and contributions are still being sought. Major sponsors for the Johnstown Slavic Festival are Best Window and Door Company, ProVia, 1st Summit Bank, and IMAC. The Johnstown Area Heritage Association has provided organizational and technical support for the festival.

Paid parking is available in the Best Window lot on Sixth Avenue, near Broad Street.
Information about the Slavic Festival can be found at www.johnstownslavicfestival.org

Entertainment Schedule:

1:00-2:00: Kyiv Ukrainian Dance Ensemble (Pittsburgh). The Kyiv Ukrainian Dance Ensemble prides itself in being a training ground for young dancers. In 1994 the children’s classes were combined into a formal school under the directorship of Natalie M. Kapeluck. A curriculum for teaching a mixture of traditional Ukrainian Folk dance and ballet technique evolved. Kyiv Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and School has performed throughout the eastern United States. Kyiv believes that Ukrainian Folk Dancing should be learned and enjoyed by all people.

2:00-3:00: Czech & Slovak Moravian Club Folk Dance Group (Binghamton, N.Y.). This folk dance group was organized in 1977 and presents folk dances from the Czech, Moravian and Slovak regions to authentic folk music. The dancers’ folk attire is of the villages or areas their families came from. They have performed in a wide variety of cities at many ethnic festivals and venues, including the New York State Fair (for 30+ years), Statue of Liberty, Czech and Slovak school in Astoria (NY), State College (PA), Washington D.C., Cleveland, Toronto, and the Czech and Slovak Republics. At the 2009 Czech International Folk Fest in Prague (2009), the group received 3rd place.

3:00-5:00: The Mikey Dee Band (East McKeesport, PA). The Mikey Dee Band will play a mix of polka and tamburitza band music. The Mikey Dee Band was organized in 1988. In 1990, he recorded his first records “Don’t Cry My Darling Polka” and “Euclid Vet’s Polka”. Mikey Dee has performed in many tamburitza bands through the years, and has had his own Tamburitza band (Mikey Dee Tamburica Stars) since 2004. In the polka field, Mikey played bass and keyboards for two years with Jack Tady and the Tady Bears, traveling everywhere from Chicago to the Catskills. He has also performed with Frankie Yankovic, Dick Tady, Walter Ostanek, Polka Quads, Ray Skovenski, Gene Peterson Trio, Delmars, The Barons, Dorothy and Co., Sensations, Sounder, Harold Betters and The Jack Fronhofer band.

Mikey Dee has recorded and produced twenty albums and numerous singles to date, ranging from polkas and tamburitza music to country-western and standards, and was a studio musician for Oakhill records and B & M Studio and a recording producer and advisor at McKeesport’s Soundscape Studio. Currently, Mikey performs around 220 shows a year, playing everything from oldies to ballroom, polkas to tamburitza.

5:00-6:00: Pittsburgh Slovakians: Pittsburgh’s oldest Slovak Cultural Organization. The Pittsburgh Slovakians have been spreading Slovak Culture in and around the Pittsburgh area since they were founded in 1956 by Roman Niznik. Since Roman’s untimely death in 1977, the Ensemble has been under the direction of Rudy and Sue Ondrejco. The “Slovakians” perform annually at the Pittsburgh Folk Festival, Slovak Day in Kennywood Park, and at the Slovak Heritage Festival at the University of Pittsburgh. They also provide entertainment at many other festivals, conventions, and social events in the tri-state area throughout the year. The ensemble has also enjoyed opportunities for performing tours in Slovakia in 1989 and 1997.

6:00-8:00: Rosie & the Jammers (Johnstown): This upbeat five-piece act has been a staple at Johnstown events and festivals for eighteen years. Rosie and The Jammers bring high energy and a tireless dedication to preserving our ethnic musical heritage. While known for their polka music, they will present music from a variety of Slavic traditions at the 2016 Slavic Festival. Members of the group are Rosie Sida, Brian Anater, Eric Furfari, Tim Bartek and Judy Gaeta. Rosie and The Jammers have released three CDs, “At Last,” “Celebrate,” and “Rosie and The Jammers Live,” and are working on a new CD to be released by the end of the year.

8:00-10:00: West Philadelphia Orchestra. The West Philadelphia Orchestra (WPO) is a dance explosion of blasting trumpets, pulsating drums, and shouting voices. Beats and melodies are inspired by those in Serbia, Romania, and all of the Balkans. WPO began playing Romanian ballads, Macedonian folk-dance songs, Bulgarian wedding music, and Klezmer in late 2006, and have continued expanding their repertoire of Eastern European music. WPO consistently brings a raucous party where ever they go. As much a community as a band, WPO’s performances are celebratory events.

Speaker Schedule:

12:00 noon-1:00: My Experience as a Serbian Immigrant to Johnstown, presented by Steven Purich. Germany invaded Serbia, former Yugoslavia, on April 6, 1941; Steve was born 3 days later. After the war, Serbia was taken over by the Communists. Steve’s father, a Serbian Orthodox priest, was declared an enemy of the state was arrested and scheduled to be executed. He was able to escape the night of his arrest and fled on foot dodging enemy forces, finally ending up in Austria and was able to get in touch with his family to tell them he was still alive some four years later. He was separated from his family for twelve years. The family eventually managed to emigrate to the United States, settling in Johnstown when Steve was 15. Steve will tell his family’s dramatic story.

1:00-2:00: Croatian Travel & Genealogy, presented by Robert Jerin.
Noted Croatian genealogy expert Robert Jerin also hosts guided heritage tours of Croatia. He will discuss touring the country.

2:00-3:00: The Steeples Project and Immigrant Pageant, presented by David Hurst, Sr.

In July, 2009, the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown consolidated the five parishes into a new Resurrection Parish and closed three church buildings – St. Casimir, St. Columba and Immaculate Conception. The Steeples Project succeeded in saving these landmarks. Mr. Hurst will discuss plans to develop a theater in the former St. Columba Church, and a current project that will establish an ongoing “Immigrant Pageant.”

3:00-4:00: Slovak Kroj (Folk Costumes), presented by Helene Cincebeaux.
This presentation discusses the origin and appearance of traditional Slovak dress and its role in ceremonial life, and symbolism in its wearing and decoration. Helene Cincebeaux, of Rochester, NY, hosts tours of Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Movavia, and is a board member of the Slovak Heritage and Folklore Society. She is also editor of “Slovakia: A Slovak Heritage Magazine.

She will display a folk dress exhibit titled “Kroje for the Dance of Life” at the Johnstown Slavic Festival.

4:00-5:00: Famous Slovaks from Johnstown, presented by Dr. Peter Baran.
Dr. Peter Baran, who was born in Slovakia, is a professor of chemistry at Juniata University.

5:00-6:00: The Slovak Family in Slovakia and America, presented by Susan Kalcik.

6:00-7:00 – Genealogical Research in Slavic Countries, presented by Connie Martin. Connie Martin is President of the Johnstown Area Genealogical & Historical Society, Inc.

7:00-8:00: The History of Slovakia, presented by Dr. Michael Kopanic. Dr. Kopanic teaches history at the University of Maryland University College. A resident of Cresson, he is a member of the board of the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International.

The Johnstown Area Heritage Association is a non-profit, membership-based organization dedicated to preserving and presenting Johnstown’s unique history to the nation through high-quality educational, cultural and recreational experiences. It owns and operates several museums in the Johnstown Discovery Network, including the Johnstown Flood Museum, the Frank & Sylvia Pasquerilla Heritage Discovery Center, Wagner-Ritter House & Garden, and Johnstown Children’s Museum; in addition, it owns and operates Peoples Natural Gas Park. JAHA programs regular workshops and other events for children, cultural presentations for adults, and other special events, including the AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival, Summer Concert Series, and the Johnstown Film Festival. For more information on JAHA programs, facilities and events, visit www.jaha.org.

25th Annual Lawrence County Polish Day

Celebrate the 25th Annual Lawrence County Polish Day on Sunday, September 27 at Cascade Park Pavilion in New Castle, Pa.

Entertainment this year will be provided by Lenny Gomulka and Chicago, and for the first time in this area, Tony Blazonczyk’s New Phaze.

Vendors will be on hand with items like Polish pottery from Boleslawiec Poland, wooden and glass eggs, Christmas ornaments, Polish sweets, seasonings, canned goods and more.

Donations will be accepted for the Polish Orphanage “Jutrzenka” located in Bardo, Poland. Since its’ inception, thousands of pounds of toiletries, school supplies, clothing and personal hygiene items have been sent overseas to these children from Polish New Castle. In addition, Polish New Castle has sent over $5,000 to aid in their care. Items are shipped on a quarterly basis throughout the year based on the donations received.

The doors and kitchen open at noon with delicious Polish food prepared by Holy Trinity Polish National Catholic Church. Admission is only $12 with children 16-and-under free! The dancing starts at 1 p.m.

Proceeds benefit the Polish Americans of Lawrence County Educational Scholarship Fund. To date close to $60,000 has been paid out in scholarship funds.

For more information, contact Rose Marie at 724-658-5916, Gary at 724-752-9988 or Jean at 724-654-6337. For more information, please visit our website at http://polishnewcastle.org.

“Trzeci Maj” Observance set for May 17 in Everson, Pa.

The annual celebration of the Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791, sponsored by the Polish Heritage Club in Uniontown, Pa., is slated for Sunday, May 17 at St. Joseph Church in Everson beginning at 3 p.m. Officers, Members of the Club and friends are cordially invited for this ethnic event noted annually by the Polish Heritage Club as a means to promote Polish Culture in the Fayette County area.

Polish Marian hymns, readings from the Scripture, a Reflection, followed by the Rosary Walk and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament will conclude with light refreshments in the parish hall located off Vance and Painter Streets in the Borough of Everson.

St. Joseph Church, founded in 1887, is the third oldest Polish parish in all of southwestern Pennsylvania. Frank Cetera, President of the Club, extends a sincere welcome to all Polish-Americans and recently arrived Poles to this special Polonia event.

The May 3, 1791 Polish Constitution gave more power to the people and was a threat to the neighbors of Poland, thus furthering the division of the Polish Nation.

Johnstown Slavic Festival

From 1880 until 1920, thousands of Slavic immigrants came to Johnstown, Pennsylvania to find employment in the area’s steel mills and coal mines. By 1920, 25 percent of Johnstown’s residents were of Slavic descent. They created a rich network of churches and social clubs to support their way of life and culture.

With the decline of the steel industry, Johnstown went through tough economic times in the 1970s and ‘80s. Many people found it necessary to leave the community. Johnstown’s ethnic organizations suffered. Today, many young people want to know about their ethnic heritage, and the culture and history of their Slavic ancestors.

The goal of the Johnstown Slavic Festival Committee is to create a new program that educates residents of the western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio region about their heritage. The first Johnstown Slavic Festival will be held during the summer of 2015. The group plans to present authentic Slavic music, Slavic folk dance performances, homemade Slavic food, children’s learning areas, educational speakers and exhibits, workshops, and ethnic vendors. A full day of entertainment and education is planned.

The committee is co-chaired by Dan Kisha and Dr. Gerald Zahorchak. The Slavic Festival Committee is seeking to add committee members, and plans to become incorporated. The Johnstown Area Heritage Association will provide technical and management support for the Johnstown Slavic Festival.

The date of the first Johnstown’s first Johnstown Slavic Festival will be announced in the near future. The Slavic Festival will be held in and near the Johnstown Heritage Discovery Center, a former brewery building located in Johnstown’s Cambria City historic district. The Heritage Discovery Center houses an interactive exhibition titled America: Through Immigrant Eyes that puts visitors in role of being a recent Slavic immigrant to Johnstown 100 years ago. The Cambria City neighborhood of Johnstown was the city’s principal immigrant settlement area.

By enhancing the region’s knowledge of these lively peoples through a joyful, family-friendly experience, the Slavic Festival Committee hopes to honor the shared past of our beloved ancestors by educating and enriching the lives of a future generation.

Admission to the Johnstown Slavic Festival will be free. The Slavic Festival Committee wants a large number of participants – descendents of Slavic families and the general public – to attend. The cost of presenting the event will be around $15,000. Sponsorships are being sought to offset the costs of the event.

Numerous respected organizations, churches and businesses from Johnstown and the western Pennsylvania area have already enthusiastically signed on to support and participate in this effort. These include the City of Johnstown, Slovenian Savings & Loan, Johnstown Welding & Fabrication Industries, Somerset Trust Bank, Sokol USA, Slovak Catholic Sokol, and many others.

The Johnstown Slavic Festival website has just been placed online for all to see at: http://www.johnstownslavicfestival.org.

Please explore our website to see photos, maps and information regarding not only the festival, but also general information which may begin your journey learning more about your ancestry and the beautiful places in Europe from which your Slavic ancestors originated. We will also work year-round to provide information regarding local and regional Slavic ethnic performances, picnics, and festivals on our http://www.johnstownslavicfestival.org website pages and our Johnstown Slavic Facebook page.

For additional information, contact Daniel Kisha at daniel.kisha@prodigy.net.