|The Kurent, pictured above, is a supernatural|
creature in Slovenian culture believed to chase
away winter and usher in spring.
Kurentovanje (pronounced koo-rahn-toh-VAHN-yay) is a popular winter festival in Slovenia. The Kurent, the central figure of the carnival, is believed to chase away winter and usher in spring with its supernatural powers.
The Slovenian National Home, St. Clair Superior Development Corporation and Sterle's Country House have partnered together to bring Kurentovanje to downtown Cleveland this year. Starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, children and their families can stop by the Coppertop building on St. Clair Avenue to make crafts and costumes for the parade.
The parade, a highlight of the festival, will kick off at 1 p.m. and stretch from St. Vitus Church on Lausche Avenue to the Slovenian National Home on St. Clair Avenue. The parade will feature people in traditional Slovenian dress, as well as polka music and live entertainment.
After the parade, spend some time browsing through the local storefront businesses in the neighborhood. Many of the stores will be offering samples of ethnic foods, wine and desserts. Visitors can try their hand at bocce ball or watch live performances. Make sure to also check out Cleveland Flea, a new open market featuring artists and collectors from the Cleveland area.
The shopping ends at 6 p.m., but the party is just beginning! Visitors are encouraged to attend the after party at Sterle's Country House, a traditional Slovenian restaurant located on East 55th Street. Sterle's will be offering ethnic cuisine, drinks and a polka party.
The festival is free and open to the public. Experience the culture of Slovenia without ever leaving Cleveland -- and try out a polka while you're at it!
Kurentovanje Slovenian Winter Festival hours:
Saturday, Feb. 23 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sterle's after party lasts from 6 p.m.-11 p.m.
For more information about the event or directions, visit Kurentovanje Festival.