Cleveland's Slovak community took part in the 75th One World Day in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens on August 29, 2021. They marched in the Parade of Flags and hosted visitors in their beautiful Slovak Cultural Garden.
Slovak Cultural Garden in the Parade of Flags
Here is a video of the entire Parade of Flags at One World Day 2021.
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens are a collection of over 30 gardens each dedicated to a particular heritage. They feature busts, statues and monuments to their cultural icons. The Czech Cultural Garden was dedicated in 1935.
Paul Burik has been caretaker of the Czech Garden for over 20 years and he leads a virtual tour explaining the busts and monuments. Statues and busts include Antonin Dvorak, Karel Havlicek, Bedrich Smetana, Tomas Masaryk, Jindrich Simon Baar, Frantisek Palacky, Jan Amos Komesnky and a tribute to Czech Immigrants.
Watch the video tour.
Slovak Cultural Garden at One World Day
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation hosted the 74th annual One World Day on August 25, 2019. Police estimates say that over 30,000 people visited the Gardens and attended One World Day. There was a lot of activity in the beautiful and historic Slovak Cultural Garden.
The 74th annual One World Day in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens featured performances in all of the Gardens including the Slovak Garden. Michael Anderko spoke about and demonstrated the fujara.
Michael Anderko showing the fujara
The fujara is called Queen of the overtone flutes. Shepherds would use them to call sheep or other shepherds. It has three tone holes located on the lower part of the main body. The sound is produced by a fipple at the upper end of the main body of the fujara.
Watch the video of Michael playing a Slovakian folk song about a son telling how his father is poaching on the king's land.
Children's Village Story from Slovakia
The 74th annual One World Day in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens featured performances and ceremonies in all of the Gardens in addition to a special Children's Area with alpacas to pet, instruments to try, art to make and more. This included a story telling area. Susan Cvicela Halley told a Slovak folk tale called The Princess who would be Queen and then young T. Fedoriouk played the violin.
Anna Sophia Tombazzi first Rusyn crowned Miss Czech-Slovak Us National Queen
Anna Sophia Tombazzi became the first Rusyn crowned Miss Czech-Slovak Us National Queen 2019-2020.
Anna Sophia Tombazzi
Anna's maternal Rusyn lineage comes from her great-grandfather, Stephen Pusti from Šoma (now called Driencia) in Šaryš County near Prešov. Anna's great-grandmother, Anna Bittner Pusti was from Kamienka, in Spiš County. Both Anna's great-grandparents came to America in the early 1900's from present day eastern Slovakia. Born and raised in Ohio, Anna has been active in her Rusyn heritage from a young age. She donated (along with her older brother) money proceeds from a toy sale to an orphanage in eastern Slovakia, spoke on Rusyn Radio program based out of Pittsburgh, PA, acted as a family's little girl for the traditional Christmas Eve Velija play in Youngstown, OH. Anna has also played her violin for multiple Rusyn cultural events, been a volunteer at other festival events, like the Simply Slavic Festival in Youngstown, OH.
The knowledge for Anna's national title began when she was a member of the Cleveland, Ohio based Rusyn folk ensemble, Karpato-Rus' Ensemble in 2009. Anna was the lead violinist and a dancer. The ensemble was directed by her mother, Laurel Tombazzi. Paul Makousky, from the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society, informed Laurel about the Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant. Noticing that the Pageant requires ladies starting at age 16 to compete, the Karpato-Rus' Ensemble had no female performers that were age 16 or older at this time.
In early 2015, Laurel Tombazzi was aware on the Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant website that the nationalities of Czech, Silesian, Moravian and Slovak were on the Pageant application. Winning Queens are awarded the prize of going to either the Czech Republic or Slovakia. Since Rusyns live in eastern Slovakia, Laurel asked the Pageant Committee to add "Rusyn" to the application. (Rusyns live as a minority group in present day eastern Slovakia and do not have a land to call their own. They are eastern Slavs.) The committee happily agreed and asked Laurel to be one of three judges to select a Queen the same year.
(Photo credit Evening Blush Photography & Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant)
The annual three day Czech Days Festival has been going for 58 years in Wilber, NE drawing crowds of over 50,000 during the first weekend in August. The Pageant has taken place for the past 33 years and is part of the Czech Days Festival.
Czechoslovakia 100th anniversary celebration at Bohemian National Hall
2018 is the centennial year of the founding of the country of Czechoslovakia after World War I. This little country, formed out of a piece of the Austro-Hungarian empire became an example of people who had persevered for hundreds of years despite challenges to their very existence. Sokol Greater Cleveland and other organizations hosted a weekend full of events commemorating the centennial of the founding of Czechoslovakia 100 years ago at the Czech Cultural Center in Historic Bohemian National Hall in Cleveland Ohio.
Councilman Tony Brancatelli presents a proclamation to Steve Sebesta and Helen Roth
Members of the Czech, Slovak and Rusyn communities gathered for music and dance, gymnastic demonstrations, special food and imported beers, tours of the historic building and museum, ethnic exhibits, children's activities and a gala a sit-down dinner on Sunday.
The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation (CCGF) hosted the 73rd annual One World Day on September 16, 2018. A highlight is the Parade of Flags where people in costumes of their heritage carry the flags. The Slovak Garden was represented in the Parade.
Czechoslovakia 100th and Prague Spring 50th anniversaries
2018 is a special year. Not only are we celebrating 100 years of the founding of Czechoslovakia, but also 50 years since Prague Spring - the loosening of the tight grip by the communist regime by Slovak Alexander Dubcek, that came to a sudden halt on August 20, 1968 when the country was invaded by Soviet forces.
To commemorate these anniversaries, a re-installation and a re-dedication of two plaques in the Czech Cultural Garden took place on Sunday, August 19, 2018. Paul Burik is a past-president of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation (CCGF) and is also the delegate for the Czech Cultural Garden. He was the driving force behind the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the formation of Czechoslovakia as well as the 50 year anniversary of the Prague Spring. He also served as Master of Ceremonies.
Czechs, Slovaks, Rusins and representatives from other communities took part as well.
Miss Czech/Slovak US Queen at One World Day in Cleveland
Miss Michaela Marenka Steager is the 2016/17 Miss Czech/Slovak US Queen. She lives in Nebraska and came to the 71st annual One World Day in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. This was Michaela and her parent's first trip to Ohio. Laurel Tombazzi introduced Michaela and spoke about the competition which now includes Carpatho Rusyn and well as Czech and Slovak heritage. Michaela showed her kroj (traditional costume) which includes a favorite tie from her late grandfather. Watch the video by clicking on the white arrow.
Harmonia receives Freedom Award
The American Nationalities Movement of Ohio (ANM) celebrated their 51st annual Christmas Luncheon and Freedom Award recognitions on December 19, 2015.
Lia Staaf, Gary Kotlarsic, Jane B. Sheats and the band Harmonia were honored.
The band Harmonia is an ambassador of Eastern European and nationality music.
Slovak Folk Dress (Kroje) from various regions of Slovakia
Slovak American George Terbrak has been collecting and preserving Slovak Folk Dress, called Kroje, from various regions of Slovakia. He displayed them at the 100 Year Anniversary Commemoration of the historic Cleveland Agreement of 1915 which was held in the Bohemian Hall.
Prayer for Cardinal Ján Chryzostom Korec, Slovak Jesuit
Father Michael Brunovsky, OSB MS Ed and principal of Benedictine High School, gave the invocation at the Historic Bohemian National Hall on Broadway Ave. in Cleveland. This was at the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Cleveland Agreement. He asked the people to pray for Cardinal Ján Chryzostom Korec, a Slovakian Jesuit priest who died that morning.
Denise Ivan-Antus spoke at the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Cleveland Agreement at the Historic Bohemian National Hall on Broadway Ave. in Cleveland. In the first video, she gave some background about a poem about General Milan Stefanik that she would be reciting.
In this video, Denise recited a poem in Slovak about General Milan Stefanik and dedicated the poem to her father. 33 years earlier her father brought her to the same location to recite another poem in Slovak.
Father Michael Brunovsky, OSB MS Ed and principal of Benedictine High School, spoke at the Historic Bohemian National Hall on Broadway Ave. in Cleveland. This was at the 100th anniversary commemoration of the Cleveland Agreement.
His presentation was titled "The Slovak Struggle toward the Cleveland Agreement."
In this part of the speech he speaks about the 3 elements to the Slovak Question in the 19th Century: Nationalism, Magyarization and Immigration.
In October 1915, representatives of the Slovak League of America and the Bohemian National Alliance met at the Bohemian National Hall on Broadway Avenue in Cleveland to discuss the need for a united front in the effort to free the Czech and Slovak homelands from Austro-Hungarian rule.
After debate, a mutual agreement by both parties resulted in the first published agreement calling for the independence of the historical Czech & Slovak lands, the creation of a federation with citizen voting rights, and a democratic system of government for those lands.
Signed on October 22, 1915, The Cleveland Agreement was the first step by Czechs and Slovaks throughout America in a continuing process to continue to work together to lobby the American, British and French governments to ensure the freedom of the Czech and Slovak lands from the control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by the end of World War I.
This effort culminated in the creation of the independent Republic of Czechoslovakia in October, 1918.
Stay informed about the local Slovak community by signing up for the free Cleveland Slovak eNews mailings. You can select other groups as well. It's easy and free.
Ashley Shaw participated in the Coit Road Farmer's Market in East Cleveland Ohio and demonstrated the pierogi recipe her great grandmother from Slovakia passed down. Pierogi recipes vary from Slovakia to Poland to Ukraine and so on.
Representatives from the Slovak community participated in the International Community Council - Worldwide Intercultural Network's (ICC-WIN) 5th annual multicultural holiday celebration at the Global Center for Health Innovation in the Cleveland Convention Center in Cleveland Ohio. They modeled Slovak costumes at the International Fashion Show which featured traditional costumes of dozens of countries.
Congratulations to Geroge Terbrack for receiving the ANM Freedom Award
Taras Szmagala, Vice-President of the American Nationality Movement (ANM) introduced George Terbrack at the ANM Christmas event at the German Cultural Center in Olmsted Falls (Cleveland) Ohio. The event also celebrated the 100th birthday of former Cleveland Mayor Ralph J. Perk. Szmagala said that George has a lifetime objective to educate and inspire all generations on the significant contributions of the Slovak nation.
In his acceptance speech, George told of the influence of his immigrant grandparents from East Slovakia and the history of the Slovak people.
George told of the monumental Cleveland agreement that was the start of civil rights for the Czech and Slovak people. He said that Selma Alabama was the birthplace of civil rights for African-American and Cleveland Ohio was the birthplace of civil rights movement for Czech and Slovak people.
George Terbrack received the Freedom Award from the American Nationality Movement.
Where is Slovak hero General Milan R. Stefanik?
For many years the statue of Slovak hero General Milan R. Stefanik, which was erected in 1922, could be found on an island at MLK Blvd and Jeptha in Cleveland near the Cleveland Museum of Art.
But it was moved this past year with its eventual home to be in the Slovak Cultural Garden. In the meantime, it is on Mayfield Road in South Euclid where thousands drive by it every day.
General Milan R. Stefanik statue at Johns-Carabelli Co.
Slovaks at One World Day
The Cleveland Slovak community was well represented at the annual One World Day Festival in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. Besides hosting activities in the Slovak Garden, a group marched in the Parade of Nations.
U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Theodore Sedgwick, Milan Ftacnik, Mayor of Bratislava, Slovakia, Cynthia Maleski, National President, First Catholic Slovak Ladies Assn., Andrew Rajec, Jr., Marie Golias, President, Cleveland-Bratislava Sister Cities, Paula Tilisky, George Terbrack, Andrew Rajec, Sr., President, First Catholic Slovak Union, Mrs. Idka Rajec, Dusan Kaluznik, and Michelle Kaluznik
The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the close of World War I allowed the Slovaks to join the closely related Czechs to form Czechoslovakia. Following the chaos of World War II, Czechoslovakia became a Communist nation within Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe.
Soviet influence collapsed in 1989 and Czechoslovakia once more became free. The Slovaks and the Czechs agreed to separate peacefully on 1 January 1993.
Slovakia joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004 and the Eurozone on 1 January 2009.