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Feb 29, 2024

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Simply Slavic

Downtown festival adds more food vendors and variety

YOUNGSTOWN,  OHIO – Simply Slavic, the downtown festival created specifically to celebrate Greater Youngstown’s colorful Slavic community, will take place on Friday night, June 16, 5 – 11 PM, and Saturday, June 17, noon – midnight in historic Downtown Youngstown! The annual event began in 2011 to educate both the region’s large number of Slavic descendants and the community at large about Slavic heritage. This year, the Planning Committee focused heavily on providing Slavic food – and plenty of it.

PHOTO CAPTION
Akron’s The Pierogi Lady, Autumn Johnston, preps some of her delectable dumplings for serving at Simply Slavic 2022. This year’s festival has retained more than double the number of food vendors than past years to meet the growing demand for Slavic delicacies.

Some highlights to share:

  • We will have twice the number of vendors selling hot food (not dessert) in 2023 (11 food vendors) vs. 2022 (5 food vendors)
  • We will have a shared freezer trailer on-site which will help vendors have more backup products accessible and ready to cook for periods of peak demand
  • We have reconfigured the food vending area to maximize points of service and efficiency. Vendors will be provided with tension barriers to organize their lines to prevent overlap.
  • We have some exciting new, Slavic food items we have never had before like burek (https://www.tasteatlas.com/burek) and hamensica (https://www.tasteatlas.com/hurmasica) in addition to plenty of the crowd favorites like pierogi, halusky, stuffed cabbage, chicken paprikash, etc

NEW THIS YEAR

  • Ecumenical Blessing of the Festival Food – Slavic tradition holds that on the Saturday before Easter and other festive occasions, the food to be consumed receives a special grace. The three-part blessing specifically will address the various items being served at the Festival, with special prayers and holy water sprinkles for the meats, eggs, cakes, and bread. To expand on this tradition, all of the festival’s food vendors will submit an item for blessing so that Father Joseph can bless it for taste, the health of the patrons, and those preparing it so that it will be plentiful.

  • Tribute to Honorary Grand Marshall Rev Joseph Rudjak – A son of the former St. Casimir Church in Brier Hill, Father Rudjak has long been a champion of the Mahoning Valley’s ethnic parishes. He has repeatedly stressed to all that would listen that the churches founded by the immigrants created community and fellowship through extended families. Generations grow in faith valuing their ethnic heritage and traditions within a religious context. This gospel outreach carries the ethnic identity into the future.

Keeping with its mission, the event will showcase the rich traditions of the Mahoning Valley’s Slavic culture by celebrating the food, music, dance, and customs of the various Slavic ethnicities represented here. It will do this by featuring live music, folk dance performances, delicious food, educational exhibits, and ethnic vendors. 
For more information check out simplyslavic.org
phone: 330-333-1441
Check out the event schedule on the website.