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In Cleveland, we’ve got world-class experiences without the world-class ego. And for that, you’re welcome.
World-class experiences without the world-class ego.
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Before we begin, here's a pronunciation primer: “koo-rahn-toh-VAHN-yay.”
Go ahead; we'll wait while you say it again: “koo-rahn-toh-VAHN-yay.”
Okay, now that you can properly pronounce Kurentovanje, let’s get the party started.
Held in Slovenia each year, Kurentovanje is a colorful, ethnically rich festival that joyously bids adieu to winter while ushering in springtime. The festival and parade center around the use of traditional Slovenian masks and costumes.
But you don't have to travel overseas to experience it: just head to Cleveland Feb. 26. There will of course be plenty of food, dancing, booze, and high-quality merrymaking. Think: Mardi Gras Carnival with an Eastern European flair.
The festival is driven by the constant presence of Kurants: tall, furred and feathered “monsters” who boast long black beaks, elongated red tongues, belts with huge bells and streamers hung from their winged heads.
The primary function of these massive beasts? Scare away winter and welcome spring. For that reason alone, they’re actually quite lovable.
As bizarre as these creatures might seem upon first encounter, we here in Cleveland can’t take credit for creating them. They’re actually imported directly from Slovenia, where their presence is a pre-Lenten tradition.
In 2013, the St. Clair Superior neighborhood adopted the Slovenian celebration right here in Cleveland. If you didn’t know, Northeast Ohio is home to the largest population of Slovenians living outside of Slovenia. Cleveland even houses a Slovenian Consulate. So, the decision to host such an event was a no-brainer.
This year's Cleveland Kurentovanje happens on Feb. 26, 2022 and is usually headquartered at the Slovenian National Home (6417 St. Clair Ave.) and includes a myriad of activities starting with its annual parade through the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood. This year, the entire festival will take place OUTDOORS like the festival in Ptuj, Slovenia.
9:00 a.m.: Fourth Annual Kurent Dash 5K Race registration and packet pickup begins at St. Vitus Hall. Register for the race today.
10:00 a.m.: The Fourth Annual Kurent Dash 5K Race departs from the St. Vitus Parish Hall at East 60th and Lausche Ave.
11:00 a.m.: Gates and tents open at the Slovenian National Home & neighboring lot for kids crafting and face-painting in anticipation of the parade. Food and drink will be available for purchase. Children that make their crafts before noon are invited to join the parade and march together with their newly created pieces.
12:00 p.m.: The Parade kicks off the 10th Annual Cleveland Kurentovanje, stretching throughout the neighborhood. Departing from Saint Martin de Porres High School gym (E. 62nd and Lauche Ave), participants will proceed down St. Clair Ave, past the Slovenian National Home to Addison Rd. The procession will include the Kurenti, polka and marching bands, dance and cultural troupes, and other parading ensembles. Community organizations and groups of friends/family are encouraged to participate in the parade by signing up at www.ClevelandKurentovanje.com.
1:00-4:30 p.m.: Party time! Cleveland Kurentovanje is excited to offer full programming on multiple stages at the Slovenian National Home that will be sure to entertain an all-ages audience. Participants will enjoy ethnic food and drinks, free face-painting and crafts for kids and numerous musical acts and cultural performances. Cleveland Kurentovanje Kurent Pivo craft beer brewed by Collision Bend Brewing will be available for onsite purchase and consumption.
4:30 p.m.: The closing ceremony, called the "Pokop Pusta" in Slovenian, symbolizes the ending of the festival. Personified as a human effigy in a coffin, the festival is burned or buried until the following carnival season. The crowd will toast the burial with a Slivovitz toddy before the Kurents relinquish control back to the city.
6 p.m.: Event ends.
We encourage you to consult businesses' websites and social handles for information on current hours.