On Saturday, February 26th, we attended two events that were generously sponsored by Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC.
The first event was the 10th annual Cleveland Kurentovanje otherwise known as Cleveland’s Slovenian Mardi Gras Festival that, fittingly, took place in the outside areas (a Covid-19 safety precaution) around the Slovenian National Home on St. Clair Avenue.
As the program notes stated, “the mission of Cleveland Kurentovanje is to promote and celebrate Slovenian culture by offering a fun and lively festival which draws energy from all its related events to contribute to the St. Clair/Superior Neighborhood, all while engaging national and global audiences.”
We did some research and learned that starting in the 1880’s people from Slovenia started immigrating to the United States and today there are over 80,000 people of Slovenian descent living in the Cleveland area.
Indeed, Ms. Mary Ann Vogel who acted as emcee for the parade said that Cleveland’s Kurentovanje festival was the largest held outside of Slovenia and, accordingly, some 300 people took part in the procession including Ms. Alenka Jerak, the Slovenian Consul General for this region, and, of course, the Kurents whose appearance is meant to scare winter away.
As several people pointed out, the previous day was quite cold and snowy but, perhaps thanks to the Kurents, on this day we were blessed with cold but not freezing temperatures and patches of sunlight.
Later on Saturday, we drove to the American-Croatian Lodge in Eastlake to attend the 20th annual Casino-Night Out-West put on for the benefit of WomenSafe, Inc. whose mission is “to provide emergency shelter and support services to survivors of domestic violence throughout Northeast Ohio.”
While we were there, we enjoyed a delicious dinner and got to talk to several staff members who told us that over the years WomenSafe has provided occasional shelter to people who have immigrated to the United States from Europe as well as the Latin America.
Before we left, we played one round of roulette for a friend of ours who advised us to bet on number “32” but, unfortunately, the ball didn’t choose to land on that number; instead, it landed merely on “2” thus prompting us to call our acquaintance with the consoling news that we only needed 30 more and we would have won big.