Summer Festival Visitors in Downtown Youngstown

Simply Slavic began in 2011 to educate both the region’s large number of Slavic descendants and the community-at-large about Slavic heritage. “Simply Slavic has become more than a one day event; it’s more like a movement,” says Ken Shirilla, former event chairman. “By getting to know each other while working on the festival, Slavic community leaders have discovered various ways in which they can collaborate.” Supporting the start and growth of the Slavic Student Association at Youngstown State University is one such project. But this time of year, everyone’s efforts are on the big festival.


Directions from Pittsburgh, PA Directions from Akron, OH Directions from Cleveland, OH

Keeping with its mission, the event showcases the rich traditions of the Mahoning Valley’s Slavic culture by celebrating the food, music, dance and customs of the various Slavic ethnicities represented here. The event accomplishes this by featuring live music, folk dance performances, homemade food, educational exhibits and ethnic vendors, including the following:

  • An Ecumenical Blessing and Parade of Flags with representatives from a variety of faiths and parishes featuring one of the region’s ethnic choirs.
  • A Slavic Kitchen featuring booths of homemade foods from more than a half dozen area churches, businesses and ethnic groups.
  • An Ethnic Heritage Tent where each of the Slavic groups from around the region will create exhibits to educate visitors on the culture of their region through items like maps, flags, pictures, language lessons and information on famous immigrants from that country.
  • A Marketplace of vendors selling imported dolls, eggs, linens and apparel reflecting the varied nations of the festival.
  • A Baking Contest where amateurs can submit their favorite traditional items to be judged by area Slavic celebrities.
  • The Wasko Stage featuring music and entertainment throughout the day to include the region’s most colorful folk dance troupes.
  • Folk Bands showcasing the concert and dance music of Eastern European for the young and the “young-at-heart” into the night.

The modern-day European nations representing the origins of Slavic ancestry are Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine (see map).

Numerous local parishes and organizations already enthusiastically support and participate in this effort. These include: the City of Youngstown, Sts. Peter & Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church, PolishYoungstown, the American Slovak Cultural Association of Mahoning Valley, the Carpatho-Rusyn Heritage Society, and many others.

By enhancing the community’s knowledge of these lively peoples through a joyful, family friendly experience, we hope to honor the shared past of our beloved ancestors by educating and enriching the lives of a future generation.

For further information contact the festive committee at info@simplyslavic.org. Direct press related calls to Aundréa Cika Heschmeyer 330-646-4082 or aundrea@marqueecreatives.com.