Festival Countdown

The Simply Slavic Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to cancel the June 2021 festival due to the safety issues and uncertainty caused by the ongoing pandemic.
While the coronavirus pandemic has prevented the creation of a physical festival in Downtown Youngstown again this June, the organization has found another way to continue our mission this year.
With the help of our Slavic artisans, we have released a SLAVIC EDUCATIONAL VIDEO SERIES via our YouTube channel. Funded in part by a grant from The International Institute Funds of The Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, the series presents various culturally entertaining, educational, and just plain FUN videos for children and adults.

Taking us on a nationwide tour, Jake Kouwe from The Chardon Polka Band shares his love of the accordion and how it has been incorporated into the musical traditions of multiple ethnicities across America. In separate videos, members of the Harmonia Band introduce us to the geography, diverse musical styles, and folk instruments of the Slavic nations. 


Viewers can also learn how to dance the kolo, a circle dance popular in the Southern Slavic nations, and the polka, the Northern Slavic national dance. They can observe the tips and tricks of making the perfect stuffed cabbage from Marta Mazur of Krakus Polish Deli and Bakery. Celebrated local author, Loretta Ekoniak, shares her deep knowledge of Slovak history in the Mahoning Valley.

Current videos consist of the following:

 Kolo Dance Lesson - Catherine Katrenich, Living Traditions Folk Ensemble

Polka Dance Lesson - Catherine Katrenich, Living Traditions Folk Ensemble 

Making Stuffed Cabbage - Marta Mazur, Krakus Polish Deli and Bakery

Accordion, Music & Immigration - Jake Kouwe, The Chardon Polka Band

Musical Instruments from Eastern Europe - Alexander Fedoriouk, Harmonia

Traditional Slavic Musical Instruments - Walt Mahovlich, Harmonia


Slovaks of the Mahoning Valley - Loretta Ekoniak, American Slovak Cultural Association of the Mahoning Valley

 Slavic Musical Traditions - Walt Mahovlich, Harmonia

"While we yearn to be together in food, song, and dance in Downtown Youngstown, our Board and volunteers felt that we need to look beyond June 2021 to have an event that minimizes risk for our attendees and is welcoming to all,” said John Slanina, Simply Slavic Board President. “In the meantime, we hope these videos offer an opportunity to enjoy this colorful culture in your homes with your families."

These videos complement the 10th Anniversary 2020 Simply Slavic Virtual Fest launched last June in place of an in-person event. Hosted by RODINA, the beautiful bride-inspired Simply Slavic mascot, the program is a highlight reel of the two-day event condensed into one hour. Entertaining performances include past music and dance favorites, including Harmonia, Chardon Polka Band, and numerous folk groups who have performed at past festivals. Its highlight is the Golden Global Toasts, during which friends of Simply Slavic from countries around the world sent their anniversary good wishes and their version of “cheers” to life and health in their native languages.  

Also available is the one-hour participatory Virtual Vatra that invites you to start your own fire and sing and dance your way through the 13 nations of Slavic Europe.

2021 simply slavic forms  




virtual simply slavic 2020
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