Sat 2/14 @ 11AM
A new Cleveland tradition was born in 2013. That was the year that the Superior-St. Clair neighborhood celebrated its first Kurentovanje (koo-rahn-toh-VAHN-yay).
That neighborhood still bears traces of its Slovenian roots, and Kurentovanje is a tradition imported from Slovenia, where it’s been celebrated in the town of Ptuj since 1960 and has become a big tourist attraction. Somewhat similar to Mardi Gras, it revolves around a furry costumed folk character known as the “kurent,” who comes to chase away the winter.
The Slovenian National Home is still active on St. Clair near E. 65th despite a migration of Slovenians to the suburbs, and Kurentovanje gave it the chance to offer another connection between those out-migrators and their native country. It also gave Clevelanders of all races and ethnicities a chance to celebrate, dress up and parade now instead of waiting for the weather to warm up.
The doors at the Slovenian National Home open at 11 am for pre-parade refreshments. Collective Upcycle shop next door will be open for shopping and crafts where kids can prepare their own Kurentovanje masks and costume accessories.
The parade kicks off at noon starting at St. Vitus Church at E. 60th and Lausche. Who’s parading? Big fuzzy kurents, ethnic dancers, polka bands, marching bands, organizations, family groups, local businesses — basically anyone who signed up to get into the spirit of the thing. Being Slovenian is not required.
The parade ends up at the Slovenian National Home where last year, a polka band played on the street for a good half hour after the parade ended before everyone trooped inside for food and drink, vendors, kids’ activities, and performances by musicians and dance groups. Plenty of tables and chairs so bring your Slovenian grandmother too.
That goes on until 6pm, and if you haven’t had enough, there’s an afterparty over at Sterle’s until midnight. Sterle’s will also be open throughout the day so there’ll be a couple of places to get out of the cold (and it is supposed to be cold and snowy) and have a beer.
The event is all free.