Sunday, July 26, 2015

Whiting's Pierogi Fest 2015 - Dough Matters & Odzemok on 119th Street

Today is the last day of the Whiting, Indiana 2015 Peirogi Fest - the absolute best street fest anywhere.  I have been going to Pierogi Fest since the 1990's when I lived in Griffith, Indiana. This is a celebration of people manifested in the treats prepared by busha, or jaja, depending upon ethnic origin.  For northwest Indiana, that means Slovak, Polish, Czech. Bohemian, Moldavian, Serbian or Croatian more than likely.  These folks were the manufacturers of American steel and the refiners of John D. Rockefeller's oil for the 100 years of the American Century.

The American Century seems to embarrass too many people today.  That is sad.   Sad people call the tunes too often these days - they are the ones out among the happy people with the 'equality and fairness' tape measures squawking about hurt feelings and feelings not as yet pinched.  Sad people do not celebrate, they berate, ridicule, ignore and forget.  Happy people dance! Happy people eat!  Happy people sing!  Happy people put away as much Pierogi as they can lay hands upon.

I am happy.    I spent the entire day among happy eaters and dancers: earth launched boot slapping Slovakian horn-dogs locking metaphorical antlers with other athletic swains from the valleys and meadows of the Heart of Europe in thick rut for the attentions of gorgeous, black and blue-eyed beauties in bright pink, black, green, orange and yellow dresses whirling wildly enough for this old geezer to remark "I See London; I See France!" Odzemok, Boy-oh! Three Slovak Dance Troupes from Detroit, Cleveland and Toronto wowed me.

I am happy!  I watched hundreds of kids hurling 12" softball at a modestly sized target-trigger in order to sink a little Carmelite nun into a vat of cool water.  For $ 5 you get three shots to Dunk the Nun.. I couldn't dunk a Camelite.  Had it been a Sinsinawa Dominican or a Sister of Mercy, I'd still be peeling off $20s. I donated my five and bought sister a cold beverage of malted grains.  Best believe that, Junior.

I am happy.  I spent some quality time with Mr. Pierogi, his own bad -self.

I am happy.  I spent a few Jacksons on Pierogi prepared by a landsman - Conley's Pierogis!

 I had Taco Pierogis. I had Louisiana Gator Pierogis!  I had Big Daddy's BubbaQue Pierogis.

I am Happy!  I was with people I know and Love! Neighbors who celebrate!  Sad people don't celebrate - they organize, march and howl. Happy people celebrate up a plenty!

The heat and humidity was exquisite and the massive crowd of happy people enjoying the celebration of genuine happiness was courteous to all and sundry.  Even the eight month olds were happy.

Get happy.  Get over to Whiting.

*Odzemok, considered by many to be the "national" or most typical dance of Slovakia, has been well preserved up to the present time. The physically strenuous and virtuoso movements of odzemok, along with its martial elements, make it basically a man's dance that is very special, indeed.

Variants of the dance are known throughout the Carpathian region by various names and are often referred to as "weapon dances." Such dances were originally danced by soldiers, robbers, and shepherds, but later they were also danced by the nobility. Accounts of this dance form survive from the 16th century and by the 19th century information became more profuse. Still, in this century, its vigor is quite remarkable.

Odzemok is found everywhere in Slovakia but is richest in the central and northeast parts, especially in the High Tatra Mountains.

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