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Party with the Slavs at the Sugar Creek Slavic Festival By Sandy Turner The Examiner

BP is a proud sponsor of the 27th Annual Sugar Creek Slavic Festival

Hang on to your breeches as the Sugar Creek Fair Board invites you to ‘Follow the Lederhosen’ at the 2012 Slavic Festival June 8 and 9. As the theme of the festival implies, it promises to be a polka extravaganza as hundreds of volunteers recreate a Slovenian celebration, complete with authentic leather breeches or lederhosen. For the past 26 years, the Mike Onka Memorial Building Grounds steps back in time with folk music, dances and the chance to taste authentic old country foods such as sarma, haluski, kielbasa and povitca, as well as American favorites. The annual sausage-eating contest held on Friday night will bring a new ‘kielbasa king’ as the crowd will cheer on their favorite. Headlining the festival’s entertainment is Alex Meixner, who bridges the gap between generations as he brings traditional Slavic music to life. The international performer has been voted as Entertainer of the Year from 24/7 Polka with “Three Ring Circus” being named the contemporary recording of the year. Meixner performs both Friday and Saturday evenings. Polka Hall of Fame member Don Lipovac

will also take the stage during the festival as well as local favorites, the Sugar Creek Tamburitzans, Kolo Kids and the Ethnic Dance Troupe, along with other Slavic music groups from the metro area. The Slavic Festival, organized by the Sugar Creek Fair and Festival board, has committed more than $170,000 back into the community from funds generated at the annual event such as a new gazebo, walking track, street banners, new scoreboard at Roper Park Stadium, playground equipment and bullet proof vests for their police department. Sugar Creek, which was built on a wave of Slavic immigrants in the early 1900’s, developed the Slavic Festival as a way to not only introduce others to the Slavic way of life but also to embrace their heritage. This culture, passed from one generation to the next, provides the backdrop for a weekend full of authentic Slavic celebrations. Besides being entertained, festival-goers have the chance to see Slavic artifacts, visit vendors selling goods, play in the kids zone and the chance to kick back and enjoy a cold pilsner. More information can be found on the festival’s website as well as updates on Facebook. Admission to the festival is $3.00, and children under the age of 12 get in free.

Park and Ride the Shuttle!

Park and Ride the Shuttle!



June 5, 2012

SLAVIC FESTIVAL 2012 ENTERTAINMENT SCHEDULE Friday - June 8th Village Musicians (strolling) Ed Grisnik Group (dining hall). . Children’s Costume Parade . . Sugar Creek Kolo Kids . . . . . . Sugar Creek Ethnic Dance Troupe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Kielbasa Eating Contest . . . . . Learn the Kolo . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alex Meixner with Don Lipovac . . . . . . . . . .

CORPORATE SPONSORS The Sugar Creek Fair and Festival Board thank these sponsors for their support of the 2012 Community Arts Program and Sugar Creek Slavic Festival GOLD SPONSORS BP Lafarge North America Metcalf Bank BRONZE SPONSORS Bob and Jake Welch Andrea M. Welch, Attorney-at-Law & Morgan Jacobs General Contracting CDM Smith Williams & Campo, P. C

IN KIND City of Sugar Creek Courtney Ridge, Landfill, LLC Williams Scotsman ORGANIZATIONS: Moose Lodge Optimist Club St. Cyril’s Altar & Rosary Society Sugar Creek Business & Civic Club Sugar Creek Shockers Football Team


Northeast News Salva O’Renick The Examiner

Across the street from the Jackson County Couthouse on the Independence Square

June 5, 2012 THE EXAMINER

3:00 pm 5:00 pm 6:00 pm 6:30 pm 7:45 pm 8:30 pm 9:00 pm


Friday, June 8: . . . . 5:00 pm to 11:30 pm. Saturday, June 9: . . 3:00 pm to 11:30 pm. Admission: $3 Children (under 12): Free Sorry - no pets or coolers allowed

Proud to be a sponsor of the 27th Anniversary Slavic Festival & Community Arts Program

Welch, Martin, & albano laW offices

Owner operator - John Jarvis

9:00 pm

Bob and Jake Welch



7:30 pm 8:00 pm 8:30 pm

The Slavic Festival is held on the Mike Onka Memorial Building grounds, 11520 E. Putnam in Sugar Creek. Free parking and shuttles are available throughout the event.

Andrea “Andi” Welch

General Contracting

CONTRIBUTORS KCP&L Lanard Hall Olsson Associates Sugar Creek Optimist Club Superior Electrical Construction, Inc. Waste Management Comcast

Saturday, June 9th Village Musicians (strolling) Ed Grisnik Group (dining hall) . Hrvatski Obicaj . . . . . . . . . . . . Sugar Creek Kolo Kids . . . . . . Sugar Creek Tamburitzans . . . Sugar Creek Ethnic Dance Troupe . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lifetime Achievement Awards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alex Meixner . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

5:00 pm 6:30 pm 7:00 pm

Traffic, Speeding, DWI, DV, Drugs and all other criminal matters, City State and Federal. 3


Gold Sponsors BP in Sugar Creek

Through the donation of a building at 606 N. Sterling Ave. in Sugar Creek, BP has provided a permanent home for the Sugar Creek Historical Center. Operated by the Friends of Sugar Creek, the Historical Center is open Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Admission is free. BP is working with the City of Sugar Creek to put the former refinery site back into productive use as a business park. For development opportunities at The Bluffs at Sugar Creek, call City Administrator Ron Martinovich at 816-252-4400, x131.

LaFarge Group

The Lafarge Group is the world leader in building materials with nearly 76,000 employees in 78 countries around the globe. Lafarge North America, and its Sugar Creek operations have been active community supporters for years. For more information about Lafarge North America’s Sugar Creek operations, contact Steve Kidwell at 816-257-3607.

Metcalf Bank

When it comes to your financial matters, turn to a bank that is strong, with a long history of service. Metcalf Bank has built a well seasoned management team that takes their responsibility seriously and has the long term best interest of the customers as the cornerstone of its growth. Metcalf Bank will continue to build on the fundamental beliefs of the great banks we’re made of – delivering local decision-making and an unwavering commitment to the communities we serve, all backed by the strength and resources of a multi-billion dollar holding company, Central Bancompany. Metcalf Bank offers a wide range of products to meet both personal and commercial banking needs, including checking and savings accounts, IRA’s, CDs, commercial loans, mortgages, Home Equity Loans and Investment Services. Metcalf Bank is proud to sponsor the Sugar Creek Slavic Festival. For detailed information about our products and services, please call 816-525-5300, visit online at www., or stop by one of our convenient locations. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender.

Thanking dedication with Lifetime Achievement Awards By Sandy Turner The Examiner As a way to honor the contributions of men and women who have gone above and beyond to help preserve and promote the Slavic heritage, the Sugar Creek Fair and Festival Board will present Lifetime Achievement Awards to two organizations and two individuals at the festival on Saturday evening. Beginning in 2007, Lifetime Achievement Awards began as a way to thank those members of the community who have made significant contributions to the production of the Slavic Festival. Award winners receive a certificate from the Sugar Creek Fair and Festival Board and a proclamation presented by the City of Sugar Creek. Debbie Ray, Festival Entertainment Coordinator says the Lifetime Achievement Awards are a way to thank those who selflessly give their time and energy to this massive production of a weekend festival. “We would never be able to produce the festival each year without the help of so many dedicated people,” Debbie Ray, Festival Entertainment Coordinator said. “It’s our way of publicly thanking their commitment.”

his Croatian decedent with his parents and 12 siblings. Kolich and his wife Joan moved to Sugar Creek in 1950. Besides the commitment he made to the success of the Slavic Festival, Mr. Kolich was an active member of the Moose Lodge No. 10 in Sugar Creek, member of the Knights of Columbus, Jackson County Council #3430 and served in the United States Navy during the Korean War. Mr. Kolich’s wife Joan and five children continue to embrace their heritage and the celebration of the old country at the Slavic Festival.


For the past 14 years Stan Salva has served as Mayor for the city of Sugar Creek. For his entire lifetime he has embraced Sugar Creek as his home, and a place to celebrate his heritage with so many others whose ancestors traveled here from the old country, which in his case, is now the Slovak Republic. “Sugar Creek is a complete contrast from the suburbs which surround us,” he said. “We are a close knit community and many of us have EDWARD KOLICH chosen to make it our lifetime home.” As the family accepts the Lifetime Achievement Mayor Salva’s mother and grandparents came from Award for the late Ed Kolich, Hrustin in northern Slovakia and his grandparents on his memories of his involvement father’s side from the Detva region in central Slovakia. surrounding the beginnings “Our family holds a strong ethnic flare for the old of the Slavic Festival comes to country culture,” he said. “When we realized the herimind for his many friends, famtage was slipping away from Sugar Creek so many ily and Sugar Creek residents. years ago, my wife Barbara and I knew we wanted to The idea of a festival to be a part of doing something about it,” as the Mayor celebrate the heritage and tradihas and continues to play an instrumental role in the tions of the old country for the Slavic Festival each year. many immigrants who began a The Mayor, his wife, and their children and grandnew life in Sugar Creek began in the 1970’s with St. Cyril’s Church hosting a Folk Festi- children are passionate about their ancestry. Mayor val and when it ended after several years, Sugar Creek Salva and his wife feel blessed that their three sons residents continued to embrace their culture. Mr. Kolich have all chosen Sugar Creek as their home. “My sons and their families all live within a mile of and friend Alex Petrovic watched the parade pass by on July 4, 1985 in front of the Onka home on Sterling, and a us, with two of them living on each side of us, just next door.” conversation began to resurrect a yearly celebration. Growing up playing on the land that now houses “My dad listened to Mr. Petrovic talk about Sugar Sugar Creek’s City Hall, as it was where his dad built Creek, the sweet spot of Missouri, the special place their first home, the Mayor has come full circle as he in the middle of the racket, as he was an avid tennis sits in his office as Mayor. player,” Mike, Kolich’s son said. “They began to coTraveling to the old country often, the Mayor and ordinate, asking the many non-profit organizations in Sugar Creek, at that time, such as the Moose Lodge, his wife can be seen at the Slavic Festival wearing authentic Slovak outfits. Eagles, Knights of Columbus, VFW and St. Cyril’s to donate tables, chairs, cookers and the man power to get the festival started.” ST. CYRIL’S ALTAR On July 4 of 1986 the Slavic Festival began on the & ROSARY SOCIETY patio of the Mike Onka Building, under the watchful Named after the patron saint of the Slavic people, St. eyes of Kolich and Petrovic with the original TamburitCyril’s Parish offered its first mass in 1914 in a 60x36 zans providing the entertainment. foot hand dug basement church. By the 1920’s the Mr. Kolich was born and raised on the Strawberry congregation quickly outgrew the space and started Hill area in Kansas City, Kansas, where he celebrated to build the stone semi-gothic church. As the social


center of the community, St. Cyril’s provides more than just a place to worship as they provide outreach through many different ways. St. Cyril’s Altar & Rosary Society, a group of women who provide assistance to the parish for special projects as well as outreach to community organizations, provided the food during the Folk Festival the church hosted in the 1970’s. When the Slavic Festival was resurrected in 1986, the St. Cyril’s Altar & Rosary Society provided the preparation and cooking for the ethnic meals that were served. Although the group of women is no longer in charge of the food preparation, many of them still participate, preparing large quantities of food for the festival. Not only has the organization provided countless hours of labor and expertise to provide great ethnic food but they have also donated over $22,000 of their proceeds to the festival. St. Cyril’s Altar & Rosary Society will have a booth inside the dining hall with sweet treats for sale such as Koloche, Povitica, Nut Horns and Apple Streudel.


Since the inception of the Slavic Festival, The Sugar Creek Business and Professional Club has played an important role through volunteer staffing as well as being responsible for on-site sales and financial transactions. The Sugar Creek Business Club began in 1940 to organize a July 4th parade and festivities during the day. Over the years, in addition to hosting the annual July 4th parade, the club has supported a number of public improvement projects including assisting with the construction of the Mike Onka Building, supporting the erection of World War I and II memorial monuments, erected Wayne City overlook monuments, issued a City Street Map, and sponsors the annual Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting. Some of the Club’s finest achievements have been the establishment of a scholarship fund in 1994 and the Wayne City Monument overlook improvements. Scholarships are offered to Sugar Creek residents in pursuit of a baccalaureate degree and those attending the Metropolitan Community College system. Over $100,000 in scholarships has been provided to more than 50 students. With a grant from the National Park Service and Lafarge North America Corporation the Wayne City overlook was improved with walkways and descriptive plaques. In recent years the Business & Civic Club continues to sponsor the July 4th Parade, the Mayors Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, the Sugar Creek Business & Civic Club Scholarship program, and has sponsored an annual auto show at La Benita Park, assisting with the City’s Halloween Party and much more. The Club meets every other month on Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m. in the conference room of the Police Station. For more information contact 254-7179.


June 5, 2012

Ethnic and American food on the menu By Sandy Turner The Examiner No one goes hungry at the Slavic Festival, as the opportunity for an Ethnic dinner awaits you, as well as some American favorites. Traditional ethnic cooking, for the many volunteers who prepare the food, is a labor of love, as guests at the festival will consume 3,000 cabbage rolls, 300 pounds of potato salad and 250 pounds of cole slaw. Besides the Ethnic Dinner that is

Ethnic Dinner Menu

available, St. Cyril’s Altar and Rosary Society will be selling sweet treats such as Kolache - a filled Danish with apricot or prune filling, Povitica – a walnut bread, Nut Horns – a special cookie pastry and apple struedel. St Cyril’s priest, Father Matthew Bartulica will be preparing an ethnic meat dish on the grill for sale as a fundraiser for the church. Also available for sale is uncooked sausage from May’s House of Sausage. Dinners are served inside the Mike Onka Memorial Hall.

Sarma – Cabbage Roll – the filling is a mixture of ground beef, eggs, onion, iodized salt, rice, bread and other spices rolled in a ball and wrapped with a cabbage leaf and slow cooked with sour kraut and V-8 juice.

Sour Kraut and Bite-Sized pieces of Kielbasa (Polish Sausage)

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the old country

– potatoes, green onion, vinegar and oil based dressing.

Croatian Cole Slaw

By Sandy Turner The Examiner Dancing plays an important role, not only at the festival, but in the hearts of the many volunteers who make the commitment each year to make costumes, rehearse and spend an entire weekend entertaining. The Sugar Creek Kolo Kids, many of the children, now fourth or fifth generation participants, dress in ethnic costumes, are taught Croatian songs and dance the kolo, polka and show off their fancy footwork they have learned over the weeks of practice. The Ethnic Dance Troupe, a volunteer mix of more than 40 adults and teenagers, entertain the crowd through a “village style” voice and dancing of a wide variety of choreographed programs, representing different ethnic groups and regions in the Slavic Countries. Debbie Ray, Festival Entertainment Coordinator and also director of both Kolo

Croatian Potato Salad

– shredded cabbage, green onion, vinegar and oil based dressing.

Povitica – made with yeast, flour,

milk, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, cinnamon, honey and walnuts. The ingredients are combined to form a sweet dough topped with a nut filling spread, then rolled up, baked and sliced Drink – a glass of tea, water or cup of coffee are included with the meal

Kids and Ethnic Dance Troupe is excited so many of the youth, who started as Kolo Kids are now dancing with the troupe. “They enjoy staying connected with the community and their heritage,” she said. “Mitchell Salva, who is working towards a degree in sound at Missouri Western will be learning our sound and lighting this year,

with Mati Salva, who attends Northwest Missouri is assisting with the Kolo Kids.” The Kolo Kids will perform on Friday at 7 p.m. and you can have the opportunity learn the Kolo at 8:30. The Dance Troupe will perform at 7:30. Saturday’s performances are 6 p.m. for the Kolo Kids and 7:45 for the Dance Troupe.

Add a Haluski to your meal!

Haluski Kapusta – a Slovak dish of cabbage fried with a bit of bacon, onion, spices and butter and added to the cooked egg noodles.

9200 Ward Parkway Suite 500 Kansas City, MO 64114 816-444-8270

Proud Sponsor of the Slavic Fest June 5, 2012 THE EXAMINER


Slavic Festival offers great lineup of entertainers By Sandy Turner The Examiner

me and is the sweetest human being I’ve ever had the privilege to meet.” Besides recording music and entertaining across the country, Alex is also passionate The Alex Meixner Band Performing Friday and Saturday evenings at 9 p.m. about educational outreach and offers school assembly performances/workshops and mulThe crowds tiple day residencies at elementary, middle couldn’t get enough and high schools. of The Alex MeiFrom Alex’s website: www.alexmeixner. xner Band last year, com/educational-outreach, the following is a and he returns to quote from Cory Spotts, Music Director
Sugar the Slavic Festival, Valley Rural Charter School Loganton, PA: in between filming “Mr. Meixner’s residency here at Sugar Valley a documentary on Rural Charter School was one of the most his band and perpositive educational experiences, musically, formances across that I have ever witnessed. Alex went well the country and in above and beyond the call of duty during Canada. Alex Meixner his residency because he truly wishes to Bridging the gap reach each and every student with whom he between traditional Slavic music and jazz, teaches. He not only taught them about the Meixner brings the audience to its feet with polka music you can’t help but dance to. With instruments he played, but also exuded the passion that he too, feels about music and its over 50 recordings to his credit, both with his band and as a guest musician, Meixner’s heritage.” The Alex Meixner band will perform on career, mastering the accordion, recently earned a Grammy nomination for a recording both Friday and Saturday nights at 9 p.m. with former Brave Combo bass player, Bubba Hernandez. Don Lipovac Alex grew up in a musical family, and travPerforming Friday night at 9 p.m. eled with his father, Al and two sisters as they Of Slovenian deperformed in an ethnic folk ensemble. At scent, Don Lipovac one of these performances, before Alex was began playing born, his father met a renowned accordion the accordion at player from Strawberry Hill and they became the age of four, friends. playing Slovenian “The only lessons I’ve ever had on the acmelodies on a butcordion were from my mother and Don Lipo- ton accordion his vac,” Alex said. “Don came to Florida to teach grandfather gave me the classical traditional way of playing the to him. By the time old country songs. When I was little and we’d he was eight, he go to Don’s performances, I remember my was taking formal Don Lipovac dad telling me to watch him, that’s how it’s accordion lesdone. I was just in awe of his talent. Over the sons and graduated from the Conservatory years he continued to send me classic music of Music at UMKC with degrees in Music to learn. He went above and beyond to help Theory and Music Education.

His passion for European folk music began with performing with a Croatian Kolo Club and with roots from growing up in a little ethnic Yugoslavian community in Strawberry Hill, his career began that would touch the hearts of many across the United States through his talent of bringing classics to life on the accordion. Don won the nation’s top accordion honor at the American Accordionist Association National Championship held in New York City in 1958 and also represented the United States in the International Accordion competition in Brussels, Belgium. Don was also inducted into the Ironworld Polka Hall of Fame in Chisholm, Minnesota in 1992 for his contributions and dedication to music. Don will have the opportunity to play with one of his favorite students, Alex Meixner on Friday night. “Alex is such a talented kid,” Don said, “and we’re so lucky to have him come back to the festival. He’s a dedicated musician who keeps the roots of traditional old country songs alive.” When Alex was just five-years-old, Don became part of his life as he shared his accordion skills, but also his passion for the classics. There may be a generation gap between Alex and Don, but when they hit the stage on Friday night, it will seem as if they’ve been playing together for years. Don’t miss Friday night’s performance at 9 p.m.

Hrvatski Obicaj

Performing Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. The group’s name in Croatian translates to “Croatian Traditions.” Many are members of the former St. John Junior Tamburitzans of Kansas City, Kansas under the direct of Don Lipovac. As with many childhood groups when they reached adulthood the group disbanded. In 2007, after several months of discussions and planning they secured instruments and started practicing again, rekindling their childhood friendships and the love of the tambura music. Several of the group members are recent immigrants from Croatia. They have performed at the Adult Tamburitza Festival and represent the Strawberry Hill Community at other ethnic events in Kansas. The group released their newest CD in 2011.

Ed Grisnik Group

Performing Friday and Saturday in the dining hall at 5:00 p.m. A folk art award winner and musician, Ed Sugar Creek Tamburitzans has tirelessly worked to preserve the cultural Performing Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. heritage of the Croatian people for over The group organized in 1969 by dedicated 30 years. As an accordion player, he is the Sugar Creek residents and began with 30 sole accompaniment for the Strawberry Hill boys and girls ranging in age from 8-13 years Croatian Folk Ensemble formed in 1982. In old. They were taught to read music and play 1985, The Ensemble took their performancon handmade instruments such as the manes on the road through the Midwest. Ed has dolin, brach cello and bugatia brought from been the director of the Kansas City Ethnic the old country or made by local artists. Choir for over 20 years.

Be sure to stop at our bake booth to enjoy real butterhorns & apple strudel and our food booth serving authentic Croatian grill plates.

24 Hwy & Sterling Independence

Sunday Mass Times: 9 a.m. & 5 p.m. Parish office: 252-9564


The children learned to dance, sing and play traditional polkas, waltzes and kolos from their heritage. Now, the group’s ages range from 47-75 and after 40 years, they continue to perform. The 15-member group now serves as an Ambassador representing the city at many high profile civic and ethnic events throughout the year. Their newest CD “Ready One Two” was released in 2010.


June 5, 2012

Miss Czech-Slovak returns to festival

Proud to sponsor the 2012 Sugar Creek Slavic Festival

By Sandy Turner The Examiner There will be a queen amongst us at the Slavic Festival. Although most people know her as Jennifer Salva, who grew up in Sugar Creek and is the niece of Mayor Stan Salva, she was crowned the 2011-2012 Miss Czech-Slovak Kansas and will soon be competing at the national level. Inspired by childhood memories of being surrounded by those who embrace their ancestry, Jennifer is passionate about becoming more involved in her heritage. Besides competing in the Miss Czech-Slovak United States 2012-2013 pageant, Jennifer will also be traveling to the 26th World Congress of The Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences next month in Zilina, Slovakia. “I’m so fortunate my Dad, Gary Salva, instilled a love for our unique culture in myself and my siblings, much of the time through stories of his mother, Helen Salva, who emigrated from Hrustin, Slovakia when she was very young.” she said. “He may not realize it, but my Uncle Stan has been a role model for me in regards to studying and celebrating the Slovak heritage since I was a little girl. I remember admiring his authentic Slovak clothing and telling my Dad and I stories of his trips to visit friends and relatives in Slovakia.” Besides preparing to travel abroad and getting ready for the upcoming national competition, Jennifer is a full time college student, majoring in film and journalism and works three part-time jobs. “I am very busy, but learning about the Czech and Slovak cultures is something very important to me and I’m excited whenever I can share it with others,” she said as Jennifer will be giving a 30-minute presentation at the World Congress on the Czech and Slovak presence in the American Midwest. Like so many others, whose heart will always be in Sugar Creek, regardless if they still reside there or not, Jennifer and her brother John will dance with the Sugar Creek Ethnic Dance Troupe again this year during the festival. “We started dancing with the Sugar Creek Kolo Kids when my family lived in Sugar Creek. Although we live farther away, we return every year to dance and enjoy the

June 5, 2012 THE EXAMINER

Jennifer Salva, originally from Sugar Creek, will compete at the national level this summer in the Miss Czech-Slovak United States 2012-2013 pageant. festival with longtime friends and family.” Gary and his wife Peggy live in Olathe, Kansas, with John a recent KU graduate, and Jennifer currently attending KU. “We moved from Sugar Creek so my little sister Erin could attend Kansas School for the Deaf,” she said. “Erin loves the Slavic Festival too; playing around and enjoying the company of family.” For the talent portion of the competitions, Jennifer plays three movements of traditional Slavic melodies on the alto saxophone. “My high school band director composed it for me,” she said. “And I jazzed it up a little to incorporate my heritage with something unique about myself.” Jennifer has taken advantage of the opportunity to take Slavic study courses at KU and also has a private tutor to study the Czech language. “It means so much to me that I am able to represent my heritage in this unique way,” she said. “I’m truly grateful to the Sugar Creek Fair Board, Wilson Chamber of Commerce and the Czech and Slovak Club of Kansas City for my sponsorship to represent the state of Kansas in the national pageant, in addition to embracing and spreading the Czech and Slovak cultures.”


(816) 257-5178 7


Polish Hussar new to Slavic Fest this year By Sandy Turner The Examiner A new living and breathing exhibit will be at the Slavic Festival this year. A Polish Hussar will be walking the grounds, not to guard, but to provide information about Poland’s famed Winged Cavalry, widely regarded as the most powerful cavalry formation in the world. Mike Sieczkowski will volunteer his time during the festival, either dressed in uniform or at a booth, to share his heritage of the Polish people and bring this part of history alive to educate the young and produce memories for the old. Mike began his quest to build the Hussar kit after visiting the Renaissance Festival one year with his family. Having hoped to see costumes reflecting Eastern European heritage as portrayed by the Renaissance Festival’s Hungarian Contingent, Mike left disappointed, but decided to take action. Over the next several years, Mike began assembling the Hussar kit by special ordering pieces from Poland as well as finding replica Polish armor and clothing from Canada and from here in the United States. Mike’s daughter made the leopard skin cape. “It’s a hodgepodge of pieces, and is 95 percent historically accurate,” he said. “I actually made the wings of the suit myself as there were many different variations of wings in different centuries. The Hussar suit evolved over time.” After finishing the Hussar kit, Mike now returns to the Renaissance Festival each year, as a guest, and enjoys the reaction of the young and the old.

Congratulations on 27th Slavic Festival! Brandon, Rob, Steve & Sam


“My most memorable appearance was during the Polish Constitution Day Parade in Chicago. A grandfather was holding the hand of a young child and he was pointing at me and the Hussar suit I was wearing. I could see the older gentleman was visibly shaken with joy to see this part of his heritage being reflected, the Polish Hussar, the true Eastern Europe nobleman, which is the most common image for the Polish people to remember.” The 60-pound armored suit is complete with wings, which supposedly were worn because they made a loud, whistling noise, which made it seem like the cavalry was much larger than it was. Since the Polish Hussars were almost never defeated in battle for over 150 years, it must have worked. The Hussar kit, complete with a 15-foot long lance, has been displayed at the Strawberry Hill Museum in Kansas City, Kansas and Mike has been in numerous parades and celebrations throughout the metro area as well as in other states. “It’s an honor for me to be able to give back to my Polish roots,” he said. “The Polish people and Americans have a great deal in common as they both have the love of liberty and freedom.” Both sets of Mike’s grandparents came here from Poland and he’s excited to participate in the Slavic Festival and share another part of culture from the old country. “I’m looking forward to talking with people about the Polish heritage as well as giving the opportunity for a photo with a Hussar.”


June 5, 2012

The 2012 Sugar Creek Slavic Festival  

The 2012 Sugar Creek Slavic Festival

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