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August 2, 2013

Slovak festival comes to Sterling

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

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Slovak festival comes to Sterling
Elise Langlois, 10, of Rochester, and Rose Jaynes. 9, of Sterling Heights, dance at the 2012 Slovak Festival at Ss. Cyril & Methodius Slovak Catholic Church in Sterling Heights.

European culture and cuisine will be open to all at the upcoming 23rd annual Slovak Festival Aug. 23-25 in Sterling Heights.

Ss. Cyril and Methodius Slovak Catholic Church will host the ethnic festival, which will begin on Friday with a family night of karaoke and a talent contest. Guests who visit Saturday or Sunday may experience a children’s area, live entertainment, bingo and Slovak cuisine.

The Rev. Benjamin Kosnac, the church’s pastor of around 15 years, distinguished the Slovak ethnic group from other Slavic groups, though he said that Czechs, Ukrainians and other such nationalities would find plenty to like with the festival. He said the festival draws around 3,000 to 4,000 people every year.

“It’s very well-attended,” he said. “The Slovak community is closely integrated with the American community of every possible background.”

Kosnac said the event’s purpose is to continue sharing the Slovak culture with neighbors in Sterling Heights and beyond.

As is custom with other ethnic festivals, the Slovak festival will serve an assortment of Slovak food, including stuffed cabbage and palacinky crepes. American food like hot dogs will be sold, too, as will drinks like soda, beer and wine.

The event will keep kids amused on Saturday and Sunday with sand boxes, an inflatable play area, a rock wall, face painting, games and prizes. Adults may have some fun of their own with bingo.

Music from the Ed Zelenak Band and the Tri City Plus Band, as well as dancing from the Vychodna Slovak Dancers and the Sarisan Slovak Folk Ensemble, will round out the entertainment. The public will have a chance to dance.

David Brockman, a parishioner and member of the festival’s planning committee, said Ss. Cyril & Methodius is celebrating 25 years in Sterling Heights. The church has about 1,100 registered parishioners, and about 15-20 percent are Slovak, he said.

“The Slovakian community is very close-knit, very hardworking,” he said. “We have one Mass a weekend in the Slovak language only.”

Brockman said people involved with the festival will soon do prep work for some of the meals that will be served there. While he said the festival’s components are similar to those in prior years, the event is bringing back bingo after not having it recently. “There’s a select group of people that like it,” he said.

Ss. Cyril and Methodius Slovak Catholic Church, 41233 Ryan Road, will hold the 23rd annual Slovak Festival 6-11 p.m. Aug. 23, 2-11 p.m. Aug. 24 and noon-8 p.m. Aug. 25. 

Event proceeds will benefit the church’s building fund. To find out more, visit www.saintcyrils.org or call (586) 726-6911.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1058.