On Saturday, July 15th, the St. George Serbian Orthodox Church community held their third-annual Serbian Festival, “SerbFest”.
In the week leading up to the event, the community faced many challenges: a flood in the main hall, a malfunctioning PA system, an injury to the leader of the roasting crew, and more. Yet with great love for their church community, the parishioners of St. George Serbian Orthodox church rallied together and addressed the many challenges, waking-up Saturday ready to offer hospitality, entertainment and great food to their guests.
The day began with pastries in the main hall and shopping at the “Little Serbia Marketplace” in the lounge. The homemade baked goods covered multiple tables, and freshly made crepes (“palacinke”) were available with a variety of toppings. In the marketplace, this year a number of fantastic vendors offered a wide variety of goods for sale, including clothes, red pepper spread (“Ivar”), and Orthodox religious items and icons.
At noon, children’s activities opened for all of our young visitors. This year, children were able to enjoy multiple bouncy houses, pony rides, face painting, and more! Even when the children’s activities officially closed at 6pm, children stayed and played well into the evening. Families played soccer in the main field until dark and, to the delight of the youngest children, Ken Kozak spent the latter part of the day assisting the children in making fresh popcorn from a newly-donated popcorn machine.
Also opening at noon, the kitchen offered a diverse selection of roasted meats (including lamb, pig, and chicken) in addition to freshly grilled cevapcici, and other hot items (sarma, hot rice, and vegetables). As guests enjoyed the ethnic fare, live music was continuously provided by the tamburica band “Radost”.
In addition to activities at the hall and pavilion, Fr. Aleksa Pavichevich offered church tours from noon until the completion of Great Vespers. Well over 100 guests entered the church and heard a short introduction to the Orthodox church, and specific information about the art and architecture of the St. George parish, before engaging in wonderful question-and-answer sessions. The questions that the vistors posed were as diverse as the people that entered the church, including many in-depth discussions on history, spirituality and the liturgical life of the Orthodox faithful.
The evening’s events began with the folklore group “Gracanica”, based out of St. Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church in Akron, Ohio, taking the stage at 6pm. Their three groups (beginners, middlers, and advanced) performed a number of dances to the enjoyment of the standing-room only, completely-full church hall. Live music was played until close by Drago Micic.
It was a great blessing for the St. George community to once again share their faith, culture, and hospitality with their neighbors – and visitors from afar. God-willing, next year’s SerbFest will be blessed with continued growth!