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Maslenitsa and the First Annual Pancake Cook-Off

The "Maslenitsa and the First Annual Pancake Cook-Off" in the Russian Cultural Garden on Martin Luther King Blvd. started at noon on Sunday, February 22nd, but we arrived at 11:30am to watch them set up. To be sure, the garden was quite snowy but a snow plow was there and a space was soon cleared. We helped Mr. Victor Blyumin set up a tent and were warmly greeted by Dr. Boris Vinogradsy and his wife, Ms. Irina Vinogradsky, an immigration attorney. Soon the festival began to take shape and there was plenty of "bliny" (aka pancakes or crepes for sale) and opportunities to have your picture taken looking funny.

Our good friend Ms. Svetlana Stolyarova worked very hard on this project and it the turnout was great; there were cars parked on MLK Blvd. as far as we could see. Of course Mr. Ken Kovach was there (has Mr. Kovach ever missed a Russian event?) and we learned that he would be one of the judges in the pancake contest along with Mr. Bob Rotatori with "Scene" magazine. It was good to see officials from the other gardens come out and support this effort like Mr. Tom Turkley from the Croatian Garden and Ms. Erika Puussaar from the Estonian Garden.

We looked at the program notes and learned that "Maslenitsa" is a traditional celebration of "the imminent end of winter" and it was an appropriate day for this because while we were there the sun was out and it didn't feel like it was as cold as it had been in the last few days.

As for the upcoming week...

We left about 12:40pm to go to our other event for the day which was the annual Hungarian Scout luncheon at St. Emeric Church. We had read that this luncheon would take place so we called Ms. Eva Szabo at the Hungarian Museum who put us in touch with Ms. Andrea Meszaros who held a ticket for us which was a good thing because the luncheon was indeed packed with people of all ages.

We were also glad that Ms. Meszaros seated us at a table with our friend, Mr. Ernie Mihaly who we often see at European cultural events. Sitting right next to us was another friend of ours, Mr. Walt Mahovlich of the "Harmonia" band that played for our Ms. Rose Wong's Lunar New Year party on Wednesday. Sitting directly across from us were Mr. Andrew and Ms. Andrea Kapossy who conduct the "Hungarian Hour" on WCPN each Sunday night.

This is a very busy year for Mr. and Mrs. Kapossy because 2015 is the 25th anniversary of the end of the Cold War and the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and Mr. Kapossy is busy working with Ms. Szabo on an exhibit for the grand opening of the new location of the Hungarian Museum in the Galleria on April 11th.

Mr. and Mrs. Kapossy, Mr. Mahovlich, and ourselves discussed European history, recent happenings in Europe, and recent immigration trends. According to what we learned, there are still quite a few people in line to immigrate to the United States from Romania and, needless to say, from the Ukraine but the economy is pretty good in a lot of Europe with jobs available so the need to immigrate to find employment is not particularly strong at this time.

In terms of scouting, all of the young people and their parents were looking forward to the 2015 jamboree which takes place every five years in Fillmore, New York so we watched a short film about other jamborees.

Before we left, Ms. Szabo invited us to take part in the ribbon cutting for the new Hungarian Museum and we certainly intend to take her up on it.

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