Cleveland Kurentovanje, a Slovenian-infused Mardi Gras festival—won’t bring together its normal hundreds of Clevelanders who share Slovenian heritage to the historical Slovenian immigrant neighborhood of St. Clair-Superior. Due to COVID-19, this year the celebration will go on but with virtual programming, bringing the carnival to the comfort of your own home.
The 9th annual Kurentovanje festival will be all virtual featuring ways to enhance your own celebration at home, including at-home culinary segments and at-home Kurent making, a beloved figure of the festival that scares away winter and welcome spring.
The festival will include the following activities for eight days. Inspired by Slovenia’s title of European Region of Gastronomy 2021, many events will focus on cooking and the culture of food in Slovenia.
Below is a summary of some of the week’s events as described by the festival organizers. For a full list of events, click here.
Ongoing through Sunday, Feb. 7: Cleveland Kurentovanje Pen Pal Exchange – One of our favorite parts of Cleveland Kurentovanje is the joy of meeting new people. Make new friends! Meet people in your city or around the world! Sign up on the Cleveland Kurentovanje website to be matched up with a Pen Pal so that you can correspond with one another throughout the festival week.
Ongoing through Sunday, Feb. 7: Cleveland Kurentovanje Matchmaking Activity – Pandemic be damned, we’re bringing the sLOVEnian connection to Cleveland Kurentovanje! Social distancing and face masks have made it tough to form new relationships and swiping through apps is less than inspiring. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we invite participants to meet new people and discover potential love connections. Sign up on the Cleveland Kurentovanje website to be matched so that you have the option of attending a date together at one of the many virtual festival events that week.
Saturday, February 6, 11:00 a.m.: Mushrooms: A Slovenian Tradition of Foraging – Foraging for wild mushrooms is a popular pastime for many Slovenians, and attendees of this virtual presentation will learn about the bountiful range of mushrooms available across the United States. M. Kusold and Luka Zibelnik will discuss the cultural significance of foraging, present some of the easily identifiable mushrooms, and give information on identification tools. Miro Gnjatić will give insight into his mushroom farm in Kirtland, Ohio where he grows and sells mushrooms and growing kits.
Saturday, Feb. 6, 3:00 p.m.: Cooking with Cleveland Kurentovanje – We are proud to partner with Slovenska Kuhinja and VSGT (Vocational College of Hospitality and Tourism Maribor) to provide a series of three virtual cooking/baking demos throughout the week of Cleveland Kurentovanje. Tune in to watch amateur bakers from across the globe share favorite recipes made from home, while trained chefs from Slovenia demonstrate how to make delicious dishes from their kitchens. This first presentation will include a “Kitchen Conversation” with our culinary partners, and a baking demonstration of the Slovenian favorite, “Kremšnite” with Špela Vodovc, Author of COOK EAT SLOVENIA Cookbook, in Slovenia. Register to receive a list of ingredients in advance so you can prepare the recipes as soon as you’re finished watching.
Sunday, Feb. 7, 1:00 p.m.: Storytime and Sing-a-long with Cleveland Kurentovanje – The youngest Cleveland Kurentovanje fans are invited to virtually join us as Maria Bruner reads the classic Slovenian Folktale, Martin Krpan, and John V. Srsen leads us in singing some traditional Slovenian Children’s songs. Martin Krpan is the heroic story of a simple man with extraordinary strength and courage (similar to America’s Paul Bunyan) who defeats the harrowing giant. While this event is geared towards children, individuals of all ages will enjoy this exciting tale and Slovenian sing-a-long!
Monday, Feb. 8, 6:00 p.m.: Slovenian Cultural Day – Today we observe Prešeren Day -- a major national holiday in Slovenia that celebrates Slovenian culture The day marks the anniversary of the death of Slovene nation poet France Prešeren in 1849 who has been generally acknowledged as the greatest Slovene classical poet. The virtual presentation will focus on Slovenian literature, poetry and music and has been made possible by the efforts of Consul General Alenka Jerak, Martin Marsic, Dr. Luka Zibelnik, Joe Valencic, and Julie Tromba.
Tuesday, Feb. 9, 7:00 p.m.: Cooking with Cleveland Kurentovanje – Tune in for our second night of a three-part series with Slovenska Kuhinja and VSGT (Vocational College of Hospitality and Tourism Maribor). Tonight, we are excited to present three demonstrations tonight including the all-time favorite, Strudel! This virtual demonstration comes from Canada - straight from the kitchen of Slovenska Kuhinja founder, Michelle Pušič Ryall. Register to receive a list of ingredients in advance so you can prepare the recipes as soon as you’re finished watching.
Thursday, Feb. 11, 7:00 p.m.: Cooking with Cleveland Kurentovanje – Tune in for our final night of a three-part series with Slovenska Kuhinja and VSGT (Vocational College of Hospitality and Tourism Maribor). Tonight, we are excited to present three demonstrations including the challenging, but delicious, Štruklji! This virtual demonstration comes directly from local Clevelander, Mary Kozina-Cupar. Register to receive a list of ingredients in advance so you can prepare the recipes as soon as you’re finished watching.
Friday, Feb. 12, 8:00 p.m.: Kurent JUMP Livestream! – The “Kurent Jump” is traditionally when the Kurents emerge from hibernation and start their mission of scaring away winter. Patty C and The Guys will provide musical entertainment as the Kurents make their appearance beside a bonfire and shake their bells to chase away winter! Gather with those in your household, enjoy some libations, and cheer on the Kurents from your living room!