5 Years and counting for our            Slavic Collaboration

Simply Slavic, the downtown festival created specifically to celebrate Greater Youngstown’s colorful Slavic community will take place on Saturday, June 20, 2015 from Noon-Midnight on Federal Plaza East, Downtown Youngstown. The event began in 2011 to educate both the region’s large number of Slavic descendants and the community-at-large about Slavic heritage.  “We never imagined that this event would become such an integral part of the summer festival season in downtown Youngstown” says Ken Shirilla, event chairman. “We are grateful and proud of all our supporters and contributors who have helped to make the event such a success over the years!"  Shirilla says that Simply Slavic has become more than a one day event; it’s more like a movement. By getting to know each other while working on the festival, Slavic community leaders have discovered various ways in which they can collaborate to educate about Slavic cultures.  This has led to an ability to support special projects together such as the presentation of the Slavic immigrant-themed play, Out of the Furnace, this spring at Youngstown State University.  But this time of year, everyone’s efforts are on the big festival….


Ø An expanded Ecumenical Blessing. We will celebrate the unity  and diversity of the development of the Slavic languages through song and the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer by costumed volunteers in the variety of languages used by the group’s participating in this year’s festival;

Ø  An expanded National Flags display. The committee has purchased flags for each of the Slavic nations and will open the event with a costumed parade. The 13 national and one regional flag will create a colorful and educational display throughout the whole event;

Ø An expanded Children’s Area. Sure we have fun and games, but this year  we also have a Build Your Own Village and Slavic Scavenger Hunt that will take our young festival goers on an adventure throughout the entirety of the fest to get stamps and answers to a variety of history, culture and trivia questions!

Ø An Ethnic Heritage Tent with LIVE FOLK ART DEMONSTRATIONS. Join where Slavic groups from around the region exhibit materials to educate visitors about their culture through maps, flags, pictures, language lessons and a display of famous immigrants. Folklorist Larry Kozlowski will be wax decorating Easter eggs in the style of each of the Slavic nations.

Ø Tell Your Slavic Story. This story booth gives the participants a chance to share a story or memory that references their experience with the Slavic culture. Our hope is to bring the festival’s already intimate setting to a new level of cultural experience for festival goers. Story tellers will be recorded for historical purposes. The hope is that those who are Slavic will feel the embrace of their roots, while those who are not will enjoy being included in the rich memories. Stop by the booth between 2:00-3:00 and 5:00-6:00 to tell your Slavic story...or take a seat and enjoy! 

Your Polish culture will be well represented at this event. PolishYoungstown, Polish Arts Club, Krakowiaki Polish Folk Circle’s Polish Kids Corner, an all-Polish show by Living Traditions Folk Ensemble as well as Krakus Deli will all be out and involved. Will you help us make it happen?  Volunteers are needed for 1-2 hour shifts from 12- 6 PM. You receive FREE admission and are needed in the following areas:

Ø The Slavic Kitchen booth where Chef Tad and others need help selling delicious goodies;

Ø The Ethnic Heritage booth where someone needs to be there to answer questions around our culture display of maps, flags, pictures, beginner language lessons and a display of famous immigrants.

Ø The Marketplace where we will be selling our range of t-shirts, felt periogi and other goodies;

If you are able to lend a hand while you enjoy the fun, call 330-333-9724 or email info@polishyoungstown.org

Bring your party spirit for the big day
Rained out last week, Polish Happy Hour will be celebrated at the Simply Slavic Heritage Festival in Downtown Youngstown on Saturday, June 21st. We consider the PHH event kicking off with Living Traditions Folk Ensemble’s performance of Polish folk dances beginning at 6:40 PM in the Entertainment Tent. Polish food will be available in the Dining Tent from various vendors and Polish beer and vodka will be available at the Simply Slavic Bar. A special bottle of wisnowka will be available for this time only! Plan on arriving early and staying late!  The festival will continue past midnight with special Sobótka and Summer Solstice components throughout the day and evening, including a bonfire!

Wajda Goes Underground
September, 1944. It's the 56th day of Warsaw's uprising against the Nazis. The third Platoon of the Resistance is down to 43 heroic men and women, and they're penned in. After a last day of fighting, love making and of good-byes to family, a handful of doomed survivors wade into the city's underground sewers in hopes of escape. Their valor is tested a final time. That is the premise of Andrzej Wajda's film Kanał. After finding local success with Pokolenie (A Generation), Wajda and his film school cohorts returned to the violent streets of the Warsaw Uprising to tell a different tale of the individual's struggle in the face of their political circumstances. This time, however, the world took notice: Kanał was accepted into the Cannes Film Festival and received a nomination for a BAFTA.   Zapraszamy! Join us for part two of Wajda's "Three War Films" as we continue to explore how this young, Polish renegade shifted Poland's cinematic landscape! Learn more HERE. This FREE screening will take place on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 6 PM at First Presbyterian Church on Wick Ave. As always, this event is free of charge.

News from Polonia
by  Joseph Feckanin
A Fitting Tribute
These two street workers had no idea when asked to hang this new street sign on the access street from MLK Blvd that leads to Ansel Road in Cleveland that they would become part of history. The street is now named to honor the historic St. Casimir Church which stands tall nearby on Sowinski Avenue. Founded in 1891, the now famous closed-fought for-and reopened church christened St. Casimir Way as part of mass and procession last weekend. The project was the brainchild of John Niedzialek, a parishioner whose family has belonged to this parish for 100 years.  We are all proud of his efforts with all those who helped make it a reality. Dreams do come true, especially at St. Casimir!

News from Poland by Ted Mirercki  
With Tensions Rising, Poland Erects Observation Towers on Russian Border
From a windy hill outside the sleepy Polish village of Parkoszewo, one can see just how porous the border is with the westernmost part of Russia. A wooded area is all that divides one country from the other. But sneaking across remote parts of the frontier is no longer easy, thanks to six unmanned posts that have been erected outside Polish hamlets, including Parkoszewo. The red-and-white metal structures look like radio towers and rise as high as 164 feet. The cameras on the towers allow border authorities to scan as far as 12 miles into Russian territory.  The purpose of the $5 million enhanced surveillance network is to curb smuggling and illegal immigration. But many Poles say their government should use the towers to keep tabs on their neighbor in other ways, too. Learn more about this story and others in the most recent edition of Polish Media Watch.

Calendar Highlights—
June 20 5th Anniversary Simply Slavic... July 11-12 YSU Festival of the Arts... August 23-27 Polish National Alliance Convention, Cleveland... Sunday, August 30 Polish Day 2015... don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for quicker updates.

Do Zobaczenia!
Aundréa and Your PolishYoungstown Team