By Guy D’Astolfo
YOUNGSTOWN – This year’s Simply Slavic Festival will not take place on the streets of downtown but a virtual festival will bring the sights and sounds to the many who attend it.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced the festival organizers to cancel the festival, which was scheduled for June 20 on East Federal Street.
But beginning at 6 p.m. that day, a program of performances by musicians and dance troupes who have played the fest in the past – including Harmonia and the Chardon Polka Band – will be streamed on Simply Slavic’s Facebook and YouTube sites.
Rodina, the Simply Slavic mascot known for wearing flowers in her hair and a colorful traditional dress, will be the host.
Simply Slavic Festival is now in its 10th year. Friends of the festival from countries around the world will send their anniversary good wishes and their version of “cheers” in their own languages. Those watching on computers or mobile devices will be able to offer their words of encouragement.
At 7 p.m., the Golden Toast will take place.
“We wanted to explore a solution in 2020 where the community can safely stay physically distant, but collectively come together to celebrate our shared heritage,” said John Slanina, president of the festival board.
“Continuing our yearly scholarship program, helping out our local food and beverage entrepreneurs, and supporting local artists was very important to the organizing committee.”
Local food and beverage vendors who are mainstays of the festival, including Babcia’s Lunchbox and Krakus Polish Deli and Bakery, will offer special platters and other items at their locations in anticipation of the festival. The food can be ordered in advance; check the Simply Slavic Facebook page for a complete list of vendors and participants.
Modern Methods Brewing Company of Warren has begun brewing its special Rodina Czech Amber Lager, made exclusively for Simply Slavic.
“Rodina has become such a favorite of beer enthusiasts that we are more than doubling its volume of production in 2020,” said Adam Keck, Modern Methods president. A portion of Rodina sales goes toward the Simply Slavic Scholarship Program for Youngstown State University students.
Youngstown’s Penguin City Brewing Co., who partnered with the festival for the first time last year, will be offering its flagship ale for delivery.
Details of all performers will be introduced closer to June 20, but with the celebration a month away, now is a good time to connect to Simply Slavic on social media, say the organizers.
To offset the costs of the event, Simply Slavic welcomes tax deductible-donations; to donate go to www.SimplySlavic.org/donate.
Posted May 21, 2020.
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