Seventh Annual Kurentovanje

Kurentovanje

 

http://www.clevelandkurentovanje.com/

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2019, 7PM:
Kurentovanje Multi-Course Dinner

Join us as we kick off a week of Cleveland Kurentovanje celebrations with a special Kurentovanje-inspired dinner presented by chefs from Slovenia and Cleveland. The event will take place at The Slovenian National Home (6417 St. Clair Ave. Cleveland), and will feature a multi-course menu accompanied by two glasses of wine or beer for each ticket-holder.

Attendees will be seated at communal tables and chefs will present each course with a narration of inspiration and detail. The chefs presenting dishes this night include a trans-Atlantic team comprised of:

  • Kristjan Erman, Srečko Kunst and Nejc Kunst  - Gostilna Šempeter located in the Štajerska region of Slovenia. Chef Erman and owners Kunst will be coming to Cleveland from the restaurant Gostilna Šempeter whcih features traditional Slovenian food with a modern twist. Gostilna Šempeter is known for it’s specialization in “Kopun” – also known as Capon - which are specially raised roosters which are appreciated for their soft white meat. Kopun is a traditional dish with a long history within the Kozjansko area, where Gostilna Šempeter is located.

  • David Kocab – Chef de Cuisine at The Black Pig in Ohio City, Cleveland. Born-and-raised in Cleveland, Chef Kocab attended culinary school in Portland, OR, followed by work in Los Angeles. In Cleveland, David is proud to say has worked for Karen Small at the Flying Fig and Jonathon Sawyer at both The Greenhouse Tavern as well as the former Trentina where he was the CDC. Chef Kocab was named one of StarChef’s Rising Star Chefs in 2016 and is a co-host of a food-related talk show called TasteBuds.

Enormous and sincere gratitude to the following organizations which have made this evening possible: SABASPIRIT, OZS, Office for Slovenes Abroad, and The Slovenian Museum and Archives.

Proceeds from this event benefit Cleveland Kurentovanje, and will be used to help offset the cost of this year’s festival which spans six consecutive days of programming.

Tickets and Details on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cleveland-kurentovanje-2019-multi-course-dinner-with-chefs-from-cleveland-and-slovenia-tickets-55947182529 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2019, 6:30-9:30PM:
Slovenian Museum & Archives Presents an Exhibit on France Prešeren – Slovenia’s Greatest Poet

France Prešeren, widely recognized as the greatest Slovene classical poet, has authored numerous poetic works which are tremendously popular in Slovenian literature, and also wrote the lyrics in the Slovenian National Anthem. The Slovenian Museum and Archives (6407 St. Clair Ave., Cleveland) will open an interactive exhibit featuring music and songs that utilizes France Prešeren’s lyrics, on loan from the Prešeren House (museum) in Kranj, Slovenia. The “Prešeren Room” at the adjoining Slovenian National Home will also be open, and will feature recently discovered manuscripts of Prešeren’s work. The exhibit runs from 6:30-9:30pm, and will begin with a short lecture introducing the exhibit. Light refreshments will be provided and admission is free and open to the public.

The Slovenian Museum and Archives is a non-profit (501c3) organization whose mission is to preserve and share Slovenian ethnic identity and its various migration experiences in a sophisticated, multi-functional and interactive dwelling. SMA provides an educational, cultural and literary resource for families that includes archives, library and museum.

This event is free and open to the public. If you intend to attend, please obtain a free ticket so organizers can prepare the space for the appropriate number of attendees. Attendees without tickets will also be able to gain admission to the event.

Free Tickets & Additional Details on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cleveland-kurentovanje-2019-preseren-slovenias-greatest-poet-an-exhbit-tickets-55161012072

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2019, 7-10PM:
Craft Night: Make Your Own Cutting Board

Join Cleveland Kurentovanje at Soulcraft CLE and Skidmark Garage for a night of woodworking and fun as you create your own unique cutting board. Materials and hands-on instruction will be provided in Soulcraft’s woodshop as you construct an individualized, custom cut and sanded board. Afterwards, you’ll take new handiwork down to Skidmark Garage’s lounge, where you can fill your new board with cheeses, charcuterie, and fruits, and enjoy it with various wines. A great time to mingle, share in your hand crafted creations, and get ready for the Kurent’s arrival!

Soulcraft CLE and Skidmark Garage, are a part of the Hamilton Collaborative that also includes Ingenuity Cleveland, Rust Belt Riders, and other maker-based businesses housed in the historic Osborn Factory.

Tickets & Additional Details on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cleveland-kurentovanje-2019-make-your-own-cutting-board-class-tickets-55031834699

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2019, 7-9PM:
Becoming a Dual Citizen of Slovenia: Connecting your Heritage to Citizenship

Please join Slovenian Consul General Mr. Andrej Rode for an evening of information regarding Slovenian dual citizenship. Slovenian citizenship offers you a living connection to your heritage, and in this presentation, you will learn about eligibility for Slovenian citizenship, the benefits of Slovenian citizenship, and the process of obtaining citizenship. The presentation will be provided in English. Light refreshments will be provided and admission is free and open to the public.

This event is free and open to the public. If you intend to attend, please obtain a free ticket so organizers can prepare the space for the appropriate number of attendees. Attendees without tickets will also be able to gain admission to the event.

Free Tickets & Additional Details on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cleveland-kurentovanje-2019-becoming-a-dual-citizen-of-slovenia-connecting-your-heritage-to-tickets-55082667742

FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2019, 6-9PM:
Kurent Jump in the historic Hermit Club at Hofbräuhaus Cleveland

The Kurent Jump, on Friday, March 1, 2019 from 6pm – 9pm, will kick off the Cleveland Kurentovanje weekend. Held in the historic Hermit Club at Hofbräuhaus Cleveland (1550 Chester Ave. Cleveland 44114) and hosted by Hofbräuhaus Cleveland, this beautiful Bavarian setting will serve as the perfect location for the Kurent’s arrival.

Kurent Jump is traditionally the first time that the Kurents appear in public, with their bells loudly ringing as they dance around a bonfire, initiating the Kurents’ mission of chasing winter to make way for spring. The Kurent Jump is a phenomenon that has emerged in recent times in Slovenia, and this is the fourth year we will hold this event in Cleveland.

In addition to the spectacle of the Kurent Jump, attendees will enjoy:

  • A complimentary beer or glass of wine (cash/ credit card bar all night)

  • Heavy appetizers

  • Live music

Kurent Jump Tickets:

  • Presale Tickets (Exclusively Through Eventbrite – closes at 2/28 at 11:59pm): $27

  • Tickets at the Door – cash only: $30

Thanks to the generosity of Hofbräuhaus Cleveland, proceeds will benefit Cleveland Kurentovanje and help offset the costs of the festival and our expanded event schedule.

Tickets & Additional Details on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cleveland-kurentovanje-2019-kurent-jump-sponsored-by-hofbrauhaus-cleveland-tickets-54878619428

FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2018 AND SATURDAY, MARCH 2, 2019:
Bocce Tournament

Cleveland Kurentovanje in partnership with the Cleveland Bocce Club will be holding the Third Annual Kurentovanje Bocce Tournament at the Slovenian National Home held during the annual Kurentovanje Festival. Bocce teams can sign-up online at https://www.clevelandbocce.com/#tournaments-section or by emailing ClevelandBocceClub@gmail.com.  The Tournament starts on Friday, March 1st at 6pm, and will continue on Saturday, March 2nd, 2019 at 9am. The tournament will be held at the indoor bocce courts in the Slovenian National Home (6409 St Clair Ave, Cleveland, OH 44103).

More details at http://www.clevelandkurentovanje.com/bocce-tournament/

SATURDAY, MARCH 2, 2019, 9am-6pm:
Cleveland Kurentovanje 5K Race, Parade & Festival

Get ready to celebrate Kurentovanje with a full day of festivities including a 5k race, parade, musical and cultural performances, lots of food, kids activities, and much more! The event is headquartered at The Slovenian National Home Home (6417 St. Clair Ave. Cleveland) and is free and open to the public. The schedule for the day is as follows:

9am: First Annual Kurent Dash 5K Race registration and packet pickup begins. Register for the race today: https://www.hermescleveland.com/roadracing/events/kurentdash.asp

10am: The First Annual Kurent Dash 5K Race begins!

10am: Doors open at The Slovenian National Home for kids crafting and face-painting in anticipation of the parade, as well as the continuation of Friday night’s Bocce tournament. Food, drinks and shopping will also be available. The children’s craft this year are large paper flowers; children that create their crafts before Noon, can join the parade and march together as a field of spring flowers!

12pm: Parade kicks off traditional Kurentovanje, which will stretch through the neighborhood, departing from Saint Martin de Porres High School gym (E62nd and Lauche Ave), proceeding down St. Clair Ave, and ultimately ending at the Slovenian National Home. The procession will include Kurents, polka and marching bands, dance troupes, and other parading groups. Community organizations and groups of friends/family are encouraged to participate in the parade by signing up at www.ClevelandKurentovanje.com. All visitors are encouraged to dress in costume of any kind to celebrate in the Mardi Gras tradition.

Until 6pm: Party time! Full programming on multiple stages at the Slovenian National Home will be sure to entertain you! Enjoy ethnic food and drinks, free face-painting and crafts for kids, ice carving demonstrations, and multiple stages of musical acts and cultural performances.   Local craftspeople will also be selling homemade edibles and handmade goods.

All attendees are encouraged to dress in costume for this Mardi-Gras masquerade event!

Cleveland Kurentovanje is run by a volunteer steering committee and is supported by in-kind donations and sponsorships from businesses and organizations. Donations of all kinds are accepted through the Slovenian Museum and Archive, the festival’s non-profit fiscal agent.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

TONY PETKOVSEK “America’s Polka Ambassador”

TONY PETKOVSEK

“America’s Polka Ambassador”

August 21, 1941 – February 14, 2019

Tony Petkovsek, who began his career on Slovenian polka radio in1961, an unprecedented 57 years in broadcasting, passed away at the age of 77 this week. His popular music and community service show, which he produced and announced with his own sponsors, continues today in his name and tradition, featuring Cleveland Style and Slovenian Folk music, interspersed with interviews of civic, travel and entertainment personalities.

Tony P 1For 50 years, the radio programs were broadcast live daily and on location from Kollander World Travel, formerly Tony’s Polka Village on East 185th St. in Cleveland Ohio. He later moved the broadcast to his condominium radio studio in Fairport Harbor and most recently was heard broadcasting from his home at St. Vitus Village in Cleveland.

Prior to 1981 he was on the FM stations of WXEN, WZAK, WBOE and Cleveland Public Radio WCPN.

Over his career, he interviewed the many polka music leaders locally, nationally and internationally including Frank Yankovic, Lawrence Welk, Bobby Vinton plus renowned folk artists Lojze Slak and Slavko Avsenik of Slovenia. He taped conversations with two presidents of Slovenia and national news correspondants here in the United States.

He was a former partner and vice president at the long established Kollander World Travel Inc. (a division of Kompas Tours in Europe).

In 1967, Tony originated the concept of the “Polka Tour” and as a result, arranged and co-hosted thousands of travelers to see the world, accompanied by polka bands from across the country. The tours took talented musicians and bands on planes, cruise ships, motor coaches, trains throughout the world, and tours through all of Europe, South America, the Caribbean, Alaska, Hawaii, and even Australia, all guided by “America’s Polka Ambassador”, Tony Petkovsek.   He traveled to his beloved Slovenia over 50 times throughout his life.

Tony established a core volunteer booster group, his own “Cleveland Slovenian Radio Club” committee. Many community projects ensued over the years raising thousands of dollars through “Radiothons” for the Slovene Home for the Aged and for the then new independent country of Slovenia to be recognized by the US government in 1991.

In 1963, Thanksgiving became a polka holiday weekend for Clevelanders and travelers alike, commemorating Tony’s initial broadcast on Thanksgiving Day, 1961. His Radio Club sponsored these Thanksgiving Festival events, originally held at the Slovenian National Home on St. Clair Avenue, followed by St. Joseph High School on E. 185th Street, and for the last several decades, the event has continued in Tony’s tradition at the Marriott Hotel, downtown Cleveland, attracting thousands of fans from over 20 States, Canada, and Europe as the premiere Cleveland-Slovenian style event.

He has been an active founding member of the American Slovenian Polka Foundation which established the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame in Euclid. He is a Lifetime Achievement Award Winner and Chairman Emeritus of that organization.Tony P 2

In former years, Tony also helped organize some of Cleveland’s largest outdoor festivals on E. 185th Street, known as the “Old World Festival“ as the volunteer entertainment chairman, serving on the board of the Northeast Shores Development Corporation. As a former resident and businessman in the E. 185th Street, former Cleveland Mayors Voinovich and White appointed Tony to the Board of Zoning Appeals at Cleveland City Hall. He later served Governor Voinovich on the Ohio Arts Council and also emceed two gubernatorial inaugurations in Columbus for his longtime friend George Voinovich.

Throughout his career, he received over 100 awards and proclamations presented by international, national, state, county and city representatives and organizations for his contributions to the community. In 1967, he was named “Slovenian Man of the Year” by the federation of Slovenian Homes becoming the youngest person ever to receive this great honor. With the distinction of hosting America’s longest daily polka and nationality radio show, he was inducted into the prestigious National Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1991.

He considers the Slovenian polka community as his true “family” and is grateful for the support he has received.

His popular polka music and community service show, continues in his name and tradition on Saturdays from Noon till 3PM on WINT-1330AM and 101.5 FM and also simulcasts worldwide on the internet at www. 247PolkaHeaven.com, hosted by Joey Tomsick, Denny Bucar and Joe Valencic.

***

Cleveland.com / Cleveland Plain Dealer Obituary

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Father John Kumse and his hens aren’t going anywhere:

Kumse hens1Father John Kumse and his hens aren’t going anywhere:

By Phillip Morris, The Plain Dealer,
pmorris@plaind.com 

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The hens appeared to be enjoying unseasonably warm December weather. They were making full-throated clucks as they strutted around the Church of Saint Mary of the Assumption in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood Friday morning.

What a difference a year makes. Last December, the same inner-city hens were being described as unwitting accessories to attempted murder. Local and national media had a field day reporting that Father John Kumse, a 66-year-old Cleveland priest, was shot at multiple times when young thugs attempted to rob him of eggs he had just collected from his hens.

Father Kumse still chafes at that “poultry” interpretation of the attack that occurred on parish grounds. He also chafes at the fact that he is often mentioned when crime in Collinwood is publicly discussed.

The attempted robbery was never about freshly laid eggs. Five teenagers saw an opportunity to rob a solitary figure at dusk and went for it. They didn’t want eggs. They wanted valuables.

“A lot of what happens in this neighborhood is misreported or sensationalized. That reality leads to additional problems. I’m convinced the perception of crime and danger is far greater here than the actual reality of crime and danger,” Father Kumse told me Friday.

Kumse is a courageous religious leader and part of the necessary community glue that helps keep beleaguered communities intact. Analysis of the sort offered by the priest generally goes missing in the narrative of Cleveland, which is routinely – and accurately – described as crime-ridden. It’s a lack of balance in the storytelling that troubles the veteran priest.

Kumse, who has lived and pastored at Saint Mary for 31 years, doesn’t easily tolerate misinformed or casual slights of his neighborhood. He understands that half-truths and rumors reflect poorly on both the neighborhood and his church as well as reinforce fears. Far more good than bad routinely happen in Collinwood and throughout the city, but you wouldn’t know it from the headlines, he argues.

Kumse recalls the recent robbery of a 75-year-old woman on her way to mass at Saint Mary. The story made local news. The woman, reportedly an employee of the church, lost her valuables when she had her purse snatched as she prepared to enter the church. The story was a half-truth.

“A man did approach and demand her purse. She wisely dropped it, and he left. Here’s the rest of the story,” said Kumse.

“The lady does not work for the church. She attends it. There was no money in the purse. She said the only thing of value in the purse was her Monthly (prayer) Reflection. And, she concluded that the purse snatcher likely needed the prayers far more than she does,” said Kumse with a defiant chuckle.

Some may consider the priest hopelessly naïve and fecklessly committed to a neighborhood that struggles mightily with the challenges of urban decay and abandonment. Others may scoff at his contention that Collinwood remains vibrant and open for thriving residential, commercial, and spiritual communities.

Kumse doesn’t mind if you call him a believer. Cleveland desperately needs more such believers and neighborhood champions.

“The church parish stands out like an oasis and is part of what remains good about so many Cleveland communities. People haven’t given up,” said Collinwood Councilman Mike Polensek, a longtime member of the parish.

“The community around Saint Mary remains a neighborhood of committed residents. But some people have grown fearful to come into that neighborhood or any parts of the city. That’s what we’re up against. A lot of the challenge we face is about perceptions that don’t always jibe with reality,” said Polensek.

Early in January, Father Kumse said he plans to attend the sentencing of three of the males who pled guilty in connection with the 2017 attack. It’s his way of helping to bring closure to the terrifying event that easily could have led to his death.

He’s also sending a statement. He’s not backing down and he understands what his church, his neighborhood, and his adopted hometown are up against.

“This isn’t an inner-city problem because crime knows no boundaries. This a human problem. We’re fighting against a poverty of values, respect, and spirituality. It’s a fight we cannot afford to run from or to lose,” said the inner-city priest.

His hens aren’t going anywhere. Neither is Father Kumse.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Official stamp of the Post of Slovenia

SloStamp

From: sloembassy.washington@gov.si
Date: December 4, 2018 at 4:19:19 PM EST
To: Anita.Stankovic-Pavlic@gov.si
Subject: Official stamp of the Post of Slovenia honoring Slovenes in the USA & QUIZ QUESTION

When you think of Slovenes in the United States of America, you might associate them with symbols ranging from potica nut roll to Carniolian sausage, or even red carnations. But they are probably best known for their unique style of American dance music, based upon old Slovene melodies, which became a national sensation in the 1940s and is still popular in the U.S. today.

In November 2018 the Post of Slovenia (Pošta Slovenije) decided to honor Slovenes in the U.S. with a stamp that depicts the two musical instruments that best characterize their particular music, while symbolizing both nations: the traditional Slovene diatonic accordion (also known as a button box) and the banjo, representing American country music.

In a certain sense, both instruments have been “adopted” by Americans. The accordion originates from the first half of the 19th century in Europe where it soon became an iconic instrument of Slovene traditional music. Slovenes emigrating to the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century brought it with them and soon developed their own version of polka music, known as the Slovenian-style or Cleveland-style polka. But the popularity of this genre of dance music went beyond just Slovene communities. Other Americans took a liking to it, too.

The banjo followed a different route. The instrument originates from Africa, having been brought to the U.S. by slaves, first to southern states. The banjo’s popularity later spread across the U.S. and it became the most recognizable and distinctive instrument of country music. Slovene-American bands combined the button box and the banjo in the 1920s to create a new sound that is still enjoyed a century later.

The First Day Cover from the Post of Slovenia includes a postmark featuring the Carniolian sausages (Kranjska klobasa). It was issued on November 9, 2018 also at the Embassy of Slovenia in Washington DC by Ambassador Stanislav Vidovič.

QUIZ QUESTION: Which Grammy-winning Slovene-American entertainer often combined the button box and the banjo in their polka recordings?

A.      Lynn Marie Hrovat 
B.      Micky Dolenz of Monkees  
C.      Frankie Yankovic
D.      All of the above  

Please send your answers to: sloembassy.washington@gov.si by December 15. The winner of the First Day Cover of the above stamp will be drawn from the lot of correct answers.

Please forward this mail to anyone you think might be interested in information or the quiz.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

An emphasis on memories at the Zarja fall concert

by DOUG ELERSICH (SNPJ Lodge 5)

Zarja Slovenian Singing Society EUCLID, Ohio — As I sit here composing this article, it’s the middle of August and the temperatures are certainly reflecting that. It seems that Oct. 28 is a long way off, but it’s time to start working on the Zarja 2018 fall concert.

As usual, our fall program will be in concert format and will include a wide variety of styles of Slovenian and English music, with an emphasis more or less on memories.

The chorus will reprise a couple of songs from our Spring Frolic that our audience particularly enjoyed, including a really great arrangement (not mine) of “Down by the Riverside” and “Pesem o svobodi” by Radovan Gobec. Specialty numbers and a couple of instrumental pieces will compliment the chorus selections.

Of course, roast beef and klobase sandwiches, desserts and beverages will be available for purchase, and music for dancing and listening will be rendered by Patty C & The Guys.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Advance tickets may be purchased by contacting Barbara at (440)257-2540, Karen at (216) 481-1379, the Polka Hall of Fame at (216) 261-3263, or your favorite Zarja member.

Join us for an enjoyable afternoon of music on Sunday, Oct. 28, at the Slovenian Society Home, 20713 Recher Ave. in Euclid. The doors will open at 2:30 p.m. and the program will start at 3; Patty C & The Guys will be performing right after the program.

Thanks to everyone for your support in helping us to keep Slovenian music and culture alive in the Cleveland area. We’ll see you at the concert!

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

BorisCLEVELAND, Ohio — Boris Music has owned Hansa Import Haus and Hansa Travel Service in Ohio City for about 40 years. In 2016, he added Hansa Brewery in the same complex.

Cleveland creds: Moved here from Slovenia in 1976

Currently lives: Kirtland

Age: 61

Family: Wife, three grown children

Favorite locally owned restaurants besides his own: Astoria

Does Ohio City have too many breweries?

Boris: Microbreweries are growing like mushrooms. You have 40-some breweries in Greater Cleveland now, so the competition is obviously there.

But we are not the typical microbrewery. We follow old-style German purity laws for most of our beers. They have four ingredients only: water, grain, hops and yeast. No spices.

We have some other beers that are not brewed according to that tradition. We might add raspberry or blueberry or plum. Our Christmas beer two years ago had no spices, just a little honey and maple syrup.

We are a toothpick in the forest. Our typical production per batch is about 18 kegs or nine barrels. We probably do 40 batches a year. We don’t bottle it. You can drink it here or take home a growler or a few cans. It’s available on tap in 18 bars: Forest City Shuffleboard, ABC Tavern… But we are not really looking at putting it on store shelves.

We’re doing quite well. We’re doing tremendously at competitions. We’ve won several gold medals. We won double gold in New York.

I’m not spending any money for advertising. I want to build demand rather than chase people. That’s how Great Lakes did it. We’ll see what the consumer decides.

Your menu?

Boris: We are doing good central European food: Austrian, Hungarian, Slovenian, a little Italian. Americans have really bad geography; they label us Eastern Europe. Come on.

We do paprikash, goulash, stuffed peppers, all three schnitzels… We do authentic food like it’s supposed to be. We’re not trying to be a modern, highfalutin place. You never serve gravy with wiener schnitzel in Europe. You get a lemon and you soften the crunchiness. Parisian style is egg and flour.

We bring bronzini from Greece and lamb from New Zealand. We do octopus out of Spain. I do nothing from China. My octopus is soft. It’s not rubber. If you want rubber, go to Goodyear in Akron.

I got a carpaccio for yuppies, but we use mignon. We’ve giving you top shelf.

Do young customers like Old World food?

Boris: It’s all up to the server to explain t item, and once they try it they love it.

Where are you from?

I was born in Novo Mesto, in the countryside of Slovenia. I later lived in Ljubljana [the capital].

Boris: I came here as a trainee in ’76. I was sent by my company, a large tool operator. I fell in love with the place.

I worked here for Europa Travel almost two years. In ’78, I went on my own. I took over Hansa Import House. The name comes from medieval times in northern Germany. [It means a merchants' league.]

We were across the street from where we are now. The neighborhood was so bad, we were broken into at least once a week.  Cleveland was so depressed and dirty. There was no life in the evening.

I took what’s now the cigar store and Touch Supper Club. Then we got this property. We had to evict a bar. That same day, my building was on fire. Everything went down. I wasn’t properly insured.

Most of my customers said, “Why don’t you move out? Come to Parma, Brook Park… But all the freeways are nearby. Typically in America, things get destroyed in 20, 25 years, and it takes about 50 years to rebuild. I was only about 20. I figured in 30 years, maybe the area would improve. We tore both buildings down. I started to rebuild.

How was the travel business?

Boris: at that time, it was really exploding. Americans traveled to Europe in masses. There were no computers. We were doing everything on cards.

We were doing corporate accounts primarily. I had an office in Houston and in Asheville, N.C. I was doing charter flights for Cleveland to London, Frankfort, Ljubljana, Zagreb… We moved 10,000, 12,000 people a year across the water. I acquired Europa in ’91. I was called king of the charter flights.

Nowadays, can’t people book their own trips online?

Boris: Anybody who thinks they can do it themselves is stupid. I just had six people in Toronto whose plane was cancelled. I took care of them. You don’t need anybody when there’s no problem. You don’t need to insure your house until it burns down.

How’s the import business?

Boris: It’s doing very well. It’s been here 65 years. It’s primarily Germanic: Germany, Austria, Switzerland. Obviously, we have a little from Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary. We sell candy, canned goods, fish, pickled vegetables, noodles, dumplings, bread from a specialty baker in Canada. We have wines and over 100 imported beers. We have hams, salamis, sausages…

How’s the neighborhood coming along?

Boris: We have to give big credit to St. Ignatius. They’ve done a tremendous job.

Cleveland has improved 1,000 percent in the 42 years I’m here. It’s clean, livable, lots of action. It’s growing slowly, and that’s good.

Boris: I love it. I’ve got about three acres. I live in a forest. I have a running creek every day.

I have a house next to my warehouse. I sleep a few times a year here. But it’s too noisy for me. My dog doesn’t like it: a German shepherd, Socrates.

Are our ethnic communities still strong?

Boris: Yes. Look at the Germans with the farm on York. Look at the Donauschwabens. In Eastlake, you have the Croatian lodge.

You have the Slovenian National Home on St. Clair and 62nd. You have my church, St. Vitus, there. It still plays a big role in the area. They have put in senior living: beautiful apartments. St. Mary in Collinwood is more active with younger Slovenian immigrants.

How’s the weather here compare with Slovenia’s?

Boris: Fairly similar. There the flowers bloom and the vegetables grow earlier. Here spring comes all of the sudden, and everything’s rush rush rush.

Hansa Brewery, Hansa Travel Service and Hansa Import Haus are at 2717 Lorain Ave., Cleveland, 216-631-6585. For more on the brewery, see hansabrewery.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Slovenian Sweetness

Slovenian Sweetness

Keith Vandervort

http://www.timberjay.com/stories/slovenian-sweetness,14189

Potica

WHITE IRON LAKE –A faded and tattered recipe, produced on a manual typewriter, complete with stains and a few handwritten notes, has a simple heading “Walnut Potica.” That recipe is the basis of Mary Louise Icenhour’s heritage.

Like all recipes, this one is the guideline or first step in mastering a baking tradition handed down through many generations in Ely.

Icenhour’s mother, Rose Mavetz, used her original recipe to teach Community Education classes in the 1970s and 1980s at Vermilion Community College. Mary has decades of experience in making this Slovenian sweet bread and she passes on that knowledge to Ely Folk School students willing to keep the tradition intact.

These days, Icenhour is a one-person potica factory. She’s churning out dozens of loaves of walnut potica at her White Iron Lake cabin this week as she gets enough stock to conduct a fundraiser for EFS.

She is donating the cost of materials and the time it takes to make as many as 50 poticas and will sell them for $40 each at a special bake sale event on Tuesday, July 3. All proceeds go to the Folk School. To reserve a traditional Slovenian-made walnut potica, call her at 218-365-6662.

Icenhour is making five batches or loaves each day over the course of about 10 days. “If this goes well, we’ll look at doing this again at Christmas and Easter,” she said.

“I like to start as early as I can in the morning. That’s when I’m well rested,” said the retired Duke University nursing instructor.

Icenhour spends her summers at the same cabin her father built back in 1954. She recently bought a house in Ely and comes to town for the winter. “I guess you could call me a snow bird,” she joked.

While she waited for the dough to rise, she showed a visitor a Slovenian stamp that featured potica, walnuts and honey. “I get a Christmas card from my father’s cousin every year,” she said. “Potica is so significant to the Slovenian culture that they feature the baked good on their stamps. Our first lady is from the old country and Melania told the Pope last year during a visit that she feeds her husband potica. Slovenians have a real cultural connection to this sweet bread.”

Each batch of Icenhour’s potica contains two pounds of walnuts, one and a half cups of honey, a cup of sugar, lots of heavy whipping cream and three eggs. “The filling is very rich,” she said. “I always use Minnesota honey. And I use at least a pound of butter. I don’t skimp. And get the good high-protein flour.”

The combination of these is really an art. As she described the process, Icenhour added her own tried and true tips which ultimately prove invaluable for the potica novice. “Use a heavy pan, like an old pressure cooker,” and “just bring it to a slight boil. Stir in the honey and butter mixture carefully to get a nice consistency in the filling. This filling is what makes potica, potica,” Mary said.

She noted the golden color of the filling. “If you had cheaper walnuts, it would be darker,” she said. “Drop in the eggs one at a time and stir in each one. Don’t have it too hot or the else the eggs will start to cook too fast. Add a generous cup of whipping cream. Potica can’t be too rich.”

Icenhour has a half-dozen aluminum loaf pans, nearly impossible to obtain anymore, that she uses solely for her potica.

“Back in the 1970s, there was a hardware store next to Kerntz’s (appliance store) run by a family of Slovenes, the Banovetzes and they got a bunch of the pans in,” she said. “This news went through the Slovenian ladies in town like lightning, and my mother got six. I still use her original pans. They never see a dishwasher. I treat them with care. Martha Banovetz, Frank’s wife, never got any of those pans. I heard that from her daughter, Marcia, who was in my high school class here in Ely.”

Icenhour said that she scours e-bay and buys them whenever they are available. “They are an odd size, but just perfect for a loaf of potica,” she said.

“Most Slovenian women use a type of double-woven tablecloth that is hard to come by,” she said. “I have a 100-percent cotton sheet that is only used for my walnut potica. I wash it separately and line dry it. This is important for cleanliness.”

One of the mysteries of potica: “We were fussy about how much flour we added to the dough, but now you want to liberally put flour on the cloth and you want the flour to sink into the cloth,” she said.

Mary uses her grandmother’s square table, resurrected out of the bunkhouse at the cabin. “I like it because it is sturdy and flat and has no leaves and is 60 inches long which is perfect for five loaves of potica,” she said.

This week Icenhour is getting quite a workout with her rolling pin. “You just have to keep rolling. Lean into it. Hear that air come out? It’s the carbon dioxide from the yeast. My mother’s recipe calls for a rolling pin but there is a point where I give it a little help with my hands,” she said.

She prodded the dough to the edges of the table, pulling it, lifting it, and adding flour to keep it from sticking. “Don’t worry about the holes in the dough,” she said. “One thing about ethnic food is there is a lot of range for error. Just make sure it doesn’t stick to the cloth.”

The paste-like walnut filling was added and spread from edge to edge. “It is surprising how resilient the dough is to the scraping and spreading of the filling,” she said.

Icenhour started on one edge and began to roll the dough. “Now this is were the potica cloth really she shines,” she said as she picked up the side of the cloth and allowed gravity to roll the dough onto itself in quick fashion. And just like that, the potica was rolled and ready to rest for 15 minutes before going into the well-buttered baking pans and into the oven for an hour.

A handwritten hint at the bottom of the recipe says, “Before freezing, when potica is well wrapped, let it stand at room temperature for two days to allow flavor to go through.”

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Slovenia National Day

State

Slovenia National Day

Press Statement
Michael R. Pompeo
Secretary of State
Washington, DC

June 25, 2018
On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I offer congratulations to the people of Slovenia as you celebrate your 27th Statehood Day.

Our strategic partnership with Slovenia, as a NATO Ally and member of the European Union, is founded on shared values and history, and a common pursuit of collective security. In Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosovo, our security forces stand shoulder to shoulder to advance global counterterrorism initiatives and affirm our common commitment through NATO’s presence in front-line states.

The United States values Slovenia’s contributions and friendship, and looks forward to deepening our bilateral relationship over the coming year as we work to expand bilateral trade and investment and ensure that Europe remains strong and free.

I extend my best wishes to the Slovenian people and congratulate you on your Statehood Day.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key positions in his Administration:White house

Lynda Blanchard of Alabama, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Slovenia.

Ms. Blanchard co-founded 100X Development Foundation in 2004, an organization dedicated to fostering creative solutions to eradicate poverty and improve the lives of children around the world. Concurrently, she co-founded and is currently senior advisor at B & M Management Company, a real estate investment management company. Ms. Blanchard has worked in Africa, Asia, and South America, engaging with local partners to further 100X Development Foundation’s mission. As an advocate for people with special needs for more than 20 years, Ms. Blanchard has voluntarily served on boards of non-profit organizations and supported numerous education programs in Alabama, as well as helped families who are interested in adoption. She is the mother of seven children, four of which were adopted internationally. Ms. Blanchard earned a B.S. in mathematics and a minor in computer science from Auburn University.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

SLOVENEFEST JULY 13-15, 2018

Slovene Fest

SNPJ RECREATION CENTER HOSTS SLOVENEFEST JULY 13-15, 2018

• Featured in Pittsburgh Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Things to Do in July” •

Borough of SNPJ, Pa. — The weekend of July 13-15, 2018, the 37th annual Slovenefest will be held at the SNPJ Recreation Center in Lawrence County, Pa. Slovenefest, a weekend-long celebration of the music, tastes and traditions of Slovenia that is attended by as many as 5,000 people each year, is the largest Slovenian cultural festival of its kind. Featuring more than 20 Slovenian polka bands and button box accordion clubs at five indoor and outdoor venues, the non-stop entertainment starts at noon each day.

Slovenefest attendees will be able to sample the great foods and beverages of Slovenia while enjoying the music. Slovenian sausage, and barbecued lamb, chicken and pork will be available for purchase, along with other favorite festival foods and a variety of beverages, including Slovenian beer and wines.

Festival guests will be able to explore the culture of Slovenia through an extensive display of folk attire, crafts and presentations in the SNPJ Slovenian Heritage Center museum. Families and children alike will appreciate swimming in the Olympic-size pool, fishing in the SNPJ Recreation Center lake, playing miniature golf, riding the trackless train, playing on the playground equipment, and participating in organized activities. These family activities, as well as admission to the swimming pool and the Slovenian Heritage Center, are included with Slovenefest admission.

Returning for 2018, the Slovenefest “Make It, Bake It, Grow It” Crafters Bazaar will present several of the area’s finest crafters, all of whom will have items available for purchase. Hours of operation for the crafters bazaar are noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 14, and Sunday, July 15. Admission to the crafters bazaar is also included with festival admission.

The SNPJ Recreation Center (address: 270 Martin Rd., Enon Valley, PA 16120) is located on PA Route 108, one mile east of the Ohio-Pennsylvania border and seven miles west of the Mt. Jackson Exit (#17) of Interstate 376. Admission is $10 on Friday and Sunday, $15 on Saturday. A three-day pass is offered for $30. Children and teens age 16 and under are admitted free of charge. Ample free parking is available, and shuttle service is also offered free of charge. Contact the SNPJ Recreation Center at 724-336-5180 (toll-free at 1-877-767-5732) or visit www.snpjrec.com for directions. Visit the Slovenefest website, www.slovenefest.com, for additional information, including a complete weekend entertainment schedule.

For more information about Slovenefest, please call 1-877-767-5732 or e-mail snpj@snpjrec.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »