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Maslenitsa Festival to celebrate advent of spring

MADISON – Celebrating the decline of winter and advent of spring, the Maslenitsa Spring Festival will be held at Heritage Church, 29768 Brownsferry Road in Madison on Feb. 17.

In its seventh year and returning to Madison in 2018, Maslenitsa will share the customs and food of East Europe and Central Asia. The merriment runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Visitors can immerse themselves in this cultural celebration of the dying winter and the longed-for emergence of spring, enjoying authentic regional folksongs and traditional dances, savoring traditional food and communing with their inner artiste through free craft-making and family games,” publicist Jim Zielenski said.

Originally from Moldova, Olga Osadcii of Madison has served as event organizer for seven years.

Maslenitsa, a family-friendly event, is one of Eastern Europe’s oldest surviving holidays, eventually embraced by the Orthodox Church in the 16th century.

New for 2018, Garofas and Irina Milici will present “Grupul Bucovina Atlanta” with Romanian dances that represent regions ranging from Bessarabia to Transylvania. Other entertainers will offer traditional dances and folksongs spotlighting Ukraine, Moldova, Chuvash Republic, Russia, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan.

Maslenitsa 2018 will feature several young pianists and other instrumentalists from local schools. Models in two runway shows will show “National Costumes with Slavic Flair,” courtesy of Anyaberry Children and Teen Fashions; “Folk Fashion Mix” with modern and traditional styles; and “Land Trusted Linen” from Capsule Linen Collection.

Blini, similar to blintzes, are one of the festival’s favorite foods. Visitors can buy local and imported wares from the “Traveling Bake Sale.”

Other food will include shish kebab and Sisters of Saint Olga’s mushroom, potato or apple pirozhki, along with salmon-filled rasstegai pies. Czar Nicholas Tea will be available with Pryaniki cookies, kolacky pastries, butter cookies and Russian tea cakes.

Organizations presenting the festival are Global Ties Alabama, Heritage Church, International Society of Huntsville, Baron Services Inc. and Eastern European and Central Asian communities. Other supporters include Blossomwood Foundation, European Market Anastasia, Royal Rose Diner and Mark Jackson.

Admission is $5 for anyone 12 years old and older. Visitors can pay at the event with cash or check.

For more information, call 256-585-8354, email olgaosadcii@gmail.com or visit Facebook/Maslenitsa in Alabama.

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