Before we begin, here's a pronunciation primer: "koo-rahn-toh-VAHN-yay."
Okay, now that you can properly pronounce Kurentovanje, let's get down to business.
Held in Slovenia each year, Kurentovanje is a colorful, ethnically rich festival that joyously bids adieu to winter while ushering in springtime. But you don't have to travel overseas to experience it: just head to Cleveland's St. Clair-Superior neighborhood and the Slovenian National Home for this mid-winter fete.
There will, of course, be plenty of food, dancing, booze, and high-quality merrymaking.
What To Do There:
- The event will boast food on every level of the Slovenian National Home, as well as a food-focused fair throughout. Seems like a common thread everywhere you go in Cleveland - good food. But, this is the stuff of Slovenian grandmas and recipes passed down through generations.
- Adding to this mix is the availability of adult beverages at bars on every level of the Slovenian National Home. If you're feeling especially festive, consider ordering a shotski log filled with shots of slivovitz (brandy distilled in Eastern Europe) - because, when in Cleveland ...
What Else To Do:
- The festival is driven by the constant presence of tall, furred and feathered "monsters" (people in costumes) who boast long black beaks, elongated red tongues, belts with huge bells and streamers hung from their winged heads. Listen, you gotta see it to understand it. The primary function of this massive beast is to scare away winter and welcome spring. For that reason alone, they're actually quite lovable.
- The Kurentovanje parade passes through the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood led by monstrous Kurents, polka ensembles, marching bands, dance groups and other organizations in traditional dress from across Eastern Europe and other countries.
Tips for Attending:
- It can be a little chilly in Cleveland in February (SURPRISE!), so dress warmly.
- Bring some cash. Many of the artists and artisans work in good old-fashioned paper bills and coins.