The Niagara Folk Arts Festival officially opened with its traditional youth parade through St. Catharines on Saturday, May 17, and the Slovak community was well represented by young branch 31 members in full costume.
The Festival runs from May 17th to June 1st as various ethnic groups take turns hosting the public at large, showcasing their cuisine, music, and dance. Canadian Slovak Leage (CSL) Branch 31 St. Catharines opens its doors to the public on Saturday, May 31, at Holy Rosary Hall in Thorold starting at 3 pm with delicious Slovak food and superb entertainment featuring the Vychodna dancers from Toronto. The Slovak venue also presents cultural and historical displays from the Slovak Canadian Heritage Museum and the Niagara Slovak Historical Society. Every year the Slovak Open House is one of the most popular sites during the Niagara Folk Arts Festival.
The Festival opens with a parade which runs from the Folk Arts Centre through the streets of St. Catharines to Montebello Park in the city centre where the mayor and members of provincial and federal parliament welcome the crowd.
The girl featured in the picture with the Br. 31 Candian Slovak League is Alicia Woodhouse. She is the Slovak Club's ambassador during the two week festival and will also be Br. 31's kraska/princess at the annual Slovak Day in Milton in July.
In the picture holding Slovak flag are Alex Woodhouse, daughter Alicia, son Christian, Christine Matyas and her two children Natalie and Ryan.
This is a unique opportunity for all Slovaks in the Niagara region to participate or just come and cheer our enthusiastic young generation. And don't forget to wear something Slovak.
Photos and text: Steve Reistetter