If there’s one thing that defines our region, it’s our ethnic identity and heritage. It’s reflected in our neighborhoods, in our food and in our festivals. The Kurentovanje festival, complete with parade, food, drink, entertainment and activities at the Slovenian National Home on St. Clair, is one of the most recent to bloom, launching in 2013. They’re making Brite Winter Fest, the annual mid-winter blowout featuring bands, bonfires and bonhomie since 2010, seem like a regular tradition, now returning to their roots in the Flats.

Honoring their tradition of tackling social issues creatively, CPT tackles Robert O’Hara’s Barbecue, while Hillary Gent tries something entirely new, adding a custom scent to each of the 11 artists she represents. Going against the grain can sometimes attract the haters, but Cassandra Fears of Fear’s Confections has risen above with a GoFundMe campaign and a cash mob, both organized by her supporters. The Galleries at CSU reclaim women’s spirits, Karen Small hosts the Sunday Supper, Akron’s Angie Haze debuts a new DVD project, Vanity Crash hosts a glam punk party in Van Wert, amd the Metroparks are turning kids from frogs into princes and princesses. All worthy traditions to uphold. —Thomas Mulready

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