March 2015 Events

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      Putin's Gender Politics - Valerie Sperling


      How Foreign Media Affects Domestic Policies: Evidence from Ukraine - Arturas Rozenas


      Shenderovich Alive -
      Victor Shenderovich

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"How Foreign Media Affects Domestic Policies: Evidence from Ukraine"

Arturas Rozenas, Assistant Professor of Politics, New York University


When: Thursday, March 5, 4:00pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall

Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia


About the Speaker:Professor Rozenas received his B.A from Vilnius University, Lithuania, and M.S . in statistics and political science from Duke University. He is currently an Assistant professor in the politics department at New York University. Presently, Professor Rozenas conducts research on authoritarian states, electoral competition, and statistical methodology.


About the Lecture: We use variation in the availability of the analogue Russian television signal in the borderlands of Ukraine to study how foreign media affects domestic electoral process. Conditional on the distance to the Russian border, the strength of the Russian television signal can be treated as random, allowing us to identify the causal effect of signal availability on the electoral outcomes. Using precinct-level data from the two national elections in 2014, we find that the Russian television had a significant effect on raising electoral support for the pro-Russian and lowering support for the pro-Western parties. For the 2014 parliamentary elections, we estimate that about seven percent of the votes cast for the main pro-Russian party (`Opposition Block') can be attributed to the availability of the Russian TV signal; in the 2014 presidential elections, the effects were similar in magnitude. We also study to what degree these effects can be attributed to mobilization of supporters of the pro-Russian parties versus persuasion of their opponents. The findings have important policy implications as many governments in the region are debating whether to ban the broadcasting of the Russian television orhave already implemented such bans.

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"Shenderovich Alive"

Victor Shenderovich, Russian Satirist, Writer, Scriptwriter, and Radio Host


When: Thursday, March 5, 7:30pm

Where: Tamarak Club, 110 S. Westfield Road

Sponsors: ASSR-Madison


About the Speaker: Victor Shenderovich (RussianВи́ктор Шендеро́вич) is a popular Russian satirist, writer, scriptwriter and radio host. He is best known as a scriptwriter of popular political puppet show Kukly (Puppets) which was aired on NTV 1994 to 2002. He hosted satirical author program "Total" on NTV 1997 to 2001 and TV-6 in 2002. Later, Shenderovich ran a weekly program "Processed Cheese" on the Echo of Moscow radio station. The texts of this program's editions were later collected in his book "Better two heads than one. Duumvirate times chronicle", implying Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Nowadays Shenderovich is a columnist of The New Times, a liberal Russian weekly. He is known as an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin's rule and the government's stance on war in Chechnya. Shenderovich is among the 10 first signatories of the online anti-Putin manifesto "Putin must go" published in March 2010. In April 2010, Shenderovich was involved in a sex scandal with a woman claimed to have acted as a Kremlin "honey pot" to discredit opposition figures.[2] On 26 December 2010, Shenderovich played a major role in organizing a "Moscow for Everyone" (RussianМосква для всех) rally in the capital of Russia, in response to race riots having occurred earlier in the month.[3]


About the Event: Victor Shenderovich is presenting a new satirical program. The event will be conducted entirely in Russian, and tickets are available for advance purchase at the Russian Market Intermarket (5317 Old Middleton Road, 608-231-2017). Tickets are $20 when purchased in advanced and $25 the night of the event.


For more information about this event, please contact Alex Krichevsky:


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"Putin's Gender Politics"

Valerie Sperling, Professor of Political Science, Clark University


When: Thursday, March 5, 12:30pm

Where: 2435 Social Sciences

Sponsors: The Sociology of Gender Brownbag (FemSem) and the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia


About the Lecture: Valerie Sperling, professor of political science at Clark University has recently published her research on Vladimir Putin. Her book, Sex, Politics, and Putin: Political Legitimacy in Russia was recently published as part of the Oxford Studies in Cultural Politics by Oxoford University Press.


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Film: Ashes and Diamonds



When: Friday, March 6, 7:00pm

Where: 4070 Vilas Hall

Sponsors: Cinematheque, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature and CREECA


Part of the series "Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema"

Director: Andrzej Wajda

Cast: Zbigniew Cybulski, Ewa Krzyzewska, Adam Pawlikowski


About the Film: In the movie that cleared the way for a new wave of Polish cinema, a soldier during the final days of WWII is ordered to assassinate an official but his mission is stalled when he falls in love with a barmaid. Using powerful and memorable black and white imagery, Wajda’s classic is a potent reminder of how life and love are not compatible with war.





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Film: Innocent Sorcerers



When: Friday, March 6, 8:45pm

Where: 4070 Vilas Hall

Sponsors: Cinematheque, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature and CREECA


Part of the series "Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema"

Director: Andrzej Wajda

Cast: Tadeusz Lomnicki, Zbigniew Cybulski, Roman Polanski


About the Film: A cocky and freewheeling young doctor who spends his evenings playing jazz in nightclubs meets the girl of his dreams, but she’s not so easily attainable.  Polanski appears as one of the hero’s layabout pals. The score is by Polanski’s regular composer in the 1960s, Krzysztof Komeda, who also appears as himself.





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European Jazz Event Comes to Madison

Nothing but Swing Trio plays music of Komeda


When: Saturday, March 7, 9:00pm

Where: Dobhan Restaurant, 2110 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704

Sponsors: Mad-Pol KA" Productions (aka Szymon Wozniczka), UW-GB jazz professor and trumpeter - Adam Gaines


About the Band: Nothing But Swing Trio was formed in 1998 in Banská Bystrica in Slovakia. Its line-up from the beginning consisted of Klaudius Kováč – piano, Róbert Ragan – double-bass and Peter Solárik – drums.  The name of the band itself indicates that NBS Trio follows the tradition and the musical heritage of the significant jazz musicians’ generation of the Forties and Fifties of the 20th century, such as Lester Young, Bud Powell, Charlie Parker and others. However, their repertoire goes far beyond the boundaries of the Fifties. The considerable musical potential of the trio’s members enables them to draw upon the influences ranging from classical music, ethnic folk to modern jazz. These influences are – to a great extent – reflected in their own original compositions, also the arrangements and interpretation of already existing compositions and standards. The band has quickly become a part of the jazz scene in Slovakia and in Europe.  In 2002, NBS Trio recorded its debut album titled “Soul Station”.  Their second album titled “Stano Palúch & Nothing but Swing Trio” followed in 2004. On that CD, the band invited as its guest the phenomenal Slovak violinist Stano Palúch and recorded with him a string of jazz standards, their original compositions and jazz arrangements of national folk songs.  In April 2005, the trio undertook a successful Slovak-Austrian concert tour with the legendary world-class saxophonist Scott Hamilton from the USA.  The band, also collaborated and released two CDs with Slovak jazz singer - Dáša Libiaková.  Throughout the years, they performed frequently in Poland, including a performance during a concert dedicated to Krzysztof Komeda.  That event eventually inspired them to record their 2010 release "NBS trio plays Komeda".   One of the reviewers, Maciej Nowotney, praised this album: "I cannot stop listening to this record which pays hommage to Komeda in such a straightforward, fresh and unpretentious way, that is exactly what Komeda's attitude towards life, people and jazz was. Kovac, Ragan and Solanik go through Komeda's compositions with utmost elegance ..but simultaneously they spiced this dish with modern jazz sensitivity which was Komeda's specialite de la maison." In 2015, Adam Gaines - UW-GB jazz professor and trumpeter with a strong interest in European jazz, invited the band for a short residency at UW-GB and a tour of WI to present the musical hommage and lecture on the significance of Komeda's music. 


About the Concert: "Nothing But Swing" is a jazz trio from Slovakia in a short March 2015 residency at UW-Green Bay.  During their only show in Madison, they will be performing - along with UW-GB trumpet professor Adam Gaines,- the music of Polish jazz pianist, composer and godfather of Polish modern jazz - Krzysztof Komeda.  He was a driving force behind numerous collaborations with Scandinavian and German jazz players, and early on was recognized for his unique, lyrical jazz style captured most effectively on the seminal 1966's album "Astigmatic". He subsequently put Polish jazz on the European musical map.  Komeda was also famous for over 35 musical scores of films including Roman Polanski’s "Knife in the Water", "Rosemary’s Baby" and Andrzej Wajda's "Innocent Sorcerers".


Tickets are $15; bar will be open during the show; there will be some light appetizers served as well.  You can come for a dinner prior the show and stay for the concert.


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Lithuanian Independence Day Celebration


When: Wednesday, March 11, 5:45pm

Where: University Club, 803 State Street

Sponsors: Madison Vilnius Sister Cities


The Honorary Consul of Wisconsin, Leslie Liautaud, is expected to attend.


Registraion is required. Please fill out this form and there is a $30 cover which includes dinner. Deadline to register is Friday, March 5th.


Also, during the week of March 9 to 13, the University Club will be serving Lithuanian dishes all week long for lunch (Mon.-Fri.)

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"Madison Encounters in Bożków – English Language Teaching and Learning Experiences in Lower Silesia during Summer 2014:  Some Personal Perspectives on Polish Education Policy, Public/Private Partnering and Popular Aspirations"

Gina and Eric Lewandowski


When: Thursday, March 12, 4:00pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall

Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia


About the Speaker: Gina and Eric Lewandowski, a husband and wife team, have a long-standing personal and professional interest in the dynamics of intercultural affairs. Gina, a Ph.D. candidate in Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Wisconsin- Madison and a career world languages teacher, uses comparative vertical case study analysis to examine world language education in the United States and Poland since the Cold War. Eric, a former Fulbright fellow, trained as a social historian and is active in the Madison sister-city movement. In summer 2014, both taught English to Polish students in Bożków, an economically-challenged hamlet in Lower Silesia as part of WIESCO - the Wisconsin Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization. They are  keen on sharing their varied experiences obtained during a time of economic growth and political ferment in Poland – exactly one quarter century after the fall of Communism  and coincident with the unfolding crisis in Ukraine.


About the Lecture: In the twenty-five years since the collapse of Communism and the long-deferred re-introduction of democracy to Poland, Poles have been working to build a new society free from a half century of totalitarian limits on personal achievement and eager to benefit fully from their fledgling membership in the European Union and NATO. In this, they have embraced English language learning, conducted via a well-established people-to-people language camp program from Wisconsin, as a tool for democratization, economic growth and strategic integration with the West. This talk will put the practice of non-formal world language learning into a socio-historical context centered on Poland, present the views and personal experiences of teachers, students, government educators, and other political and economic stakeholders on the value of strategic language learning,  and reflect on the contemporary role(s) of everyday Americans from the heartland who are working with aspiring, forward-looking Poles in dealing with existing challenges and emerging opportunities through cross-cultural world language learning.


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Sundance Theater Screening of Leviathan


When: Friday, March 13 - Thursday, March 19

Where: Sundance Theater

Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia


About the Film: The film is Oscar nominated and presented in Russian with English subtitles. In a small fishing town, in Northern Russia, the main character, Kolyma must fight the town's corrupt mayor, who is determined to take away his business, his house and his land. When he hires a lawyer to help, the situation only gets worse.


Ticket prices for adults are $12 and $9.50 for seniors and children. To buy tickets, please follow this link.





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Film: Eroica



When: Friday, March 13, 7:00pm

Where: 4070 Vilas Hall

Sponsors: Cinematheque, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature and CREECA


Part of the series "Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema"

Director: Andrzej Munk

Cast: Edward Dziewonski, Barbara Polomska, Ignacy Machowski


About the Film: A brilliant and brave black comedy set during the Nazi occupation of Poland, Munk’s feature tells two stories. In the first, a war-avoiding coward proves to be a hero in spite of himself. Next, a soldier fed up with military pretenses, attempts a hopeless escape from a prison camp.  “Munk [was] an unusually caustic observer of his countrymen's collective emotional hangups” (J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader).





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Film: Walkover


When: Friday, March 13, 8:45pm

Where: 4070 Vilas Hall

Sponsors: Cinematheque, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature and CREECA


Part of the series "Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema"

Director: Jerzy Skolimowski

Cast: Jerzy Skolimowsi, Aleksandra Zawieruszanka, Krzysztof Chamiec


About the Film: In the second of four autobiographical features, writer/director/actor Skolimowski (Deep End) plays a fictional version of himself: a working class outsider who becomes a boxer at the factory where he is employed. Moody and gritty, Skolimowski takes a hard look at competition in business and sports.





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"Inside the Great Terror: The Trials and Tribulations of Stalin's Secret Police in Ukraine"

Lynne Viola, University of Toronto, Department of History


When: Tuesday, March 17, 4:00pm

Where: Pyle Center

Sponsors: Alice D. Mortenson/Petrovich Chair in Russian History, Department of History


About the Lecture: Michael B. Petrovich was a beloved professor at UW-Madison, who taught Russian and Balkan history for 39 years. The speech is courtesy of the Alice D. Mortenson/Petrovich Chair in Russian History in his honor.




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"Alash Folklore Village"

Alash Ensemble


When: Tuesday, March 17, 7:30pm

Where: Folklore Village, Dodgeville, WI

Sponsor: Folklore Village


About the Concert: Alash Ensemble is a group of traditional Tuvan throat singers/musicians. Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $5 for senior citizens (65 +) and $4 for kids 12 years and under. Tickets are available by calling Folklore Village at (608) 924 - 4000, or through Brown Paper Tickets:

The members of Alash Ensemble are masters of Tuvan throat singing, a remarkable technique for singing multiple pitches at the same time. The band members are also masters of traditional Tuvan instruments such as the Igil, the Doshpuluur, and the Byzaanchy. Alash are deeply committed to traditional Tuvan music and culture. At the same time, they are fans of western music. Believing that traditional music must constantly evolve, the musicians subtly infuse their songs with western elements, creating their own unique style that is fresh and new, yet true to their Tuvan musical heritage. They have performed with western artists such as Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and count the Sun Ra Arkestra and Jimi Hendrix among their influences. The band's manager, Sean Quirk, is originally from the Milwaukee area, but has lived in Tuva for many years with his Tuvan family, speaks both Russian and Tuvan, and is considered to be a western expert on the culture of the Republic of Tuva. Sean curated the Tuvan delegation that attended the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in 2013, "One World, Many Voices: Endangered Languages and Cultural Heritage," which he also emceed. During Alash concerts, Sean interprets the cultural significance of the songs, providing a deeper understanding of the Tuvan people and their history.

This concert is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information about the band, visit their website:



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"What Fossils Tell Us About Being Human"

Dr. Zachary Cofran, Nazarbayev University


When: Wednesday, March 18, 4:00pm

Where: 8417 Social Science Building

Sponsor: Department of Anthropology; Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia


About the Speaker: Dr. Zachary Cofran studies the fossil evidence of how humans became the most interesting animal on the planet, with emphasis on the interplay between evolution and growth. His laboratory research has considered mandibular growth in the extint human relative Australopithecus robustus, and has examined brain size growth and body size variation in our ancestor Homo erectus. He is presently involved in the analysis of the fossil collection from the Rising Star site in South Africa. He is also starting paleoanthropology fieldwork in Kazakhstan, in collaboration with researchers from Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, the United States and Europe. Dr. Cofran is well-known as a popularizer of human evolution through his blog, ( and on Twitter (@ZCofran).

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"Performing the City, Performing the Nation: Mythmaking at Putin’s Olympiad"

Catherine Schuler, Associate Professor of Women's Studies, University of Maryland, College Park


When: Thursday, March 19, 4:00pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall

Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia; Department of Gender and Women's Studies


About the Speaker: Dr. Catherine Schuler is an Associate Professor of Women's Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.  She has published two books, Women in Russian Theatre: the Actress in the Silver Age (Routledge 1996), which won the Barnard Hewitt Award from the American Society for Theatre Research, and Theatre and Identity in Imperial Russia (University of Iowa Press, 2009).  Her articles have appeared in Theatre Journal, TDR, Theatre Survey, Theatre Topics, and Theatre History Studies and she is a past Editor of Theatre Journal, the US's most prominent theatre and performance studies journal.  Her most recent work concerns Vladimir Putin as a political performer, including his performance of masculinity.  TDR has recently published two articles on the topic, "Reinventing the Show Trial: Putin and Pussy Riot" (Winter 2013) and "Priamaia liniia s Vladimirom Putinym: Performing Democracy Putin Style" (Winter 2015).


About the Lecture: On 5 July 2007, like Ermolai Lopakhin in the third act of The Cherry Orchard, Vladimir Putin must surely have bellowed, “I bought it!”  Rather than a decrepit cherry orchard, however, president Putin had just purchased the doubtful privilege of staging the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, a decrepit resort area on the Black Sea.  Media in both Russia and the West promptly personalized Sochi 2014, characterizing it variously as Putin’s Olympiad, Putin’s gift to the Russian people, Putin’s economic miracle, and Putin’s boondoggle.  Surely the Sochi Olympiad was all of these—and more.


Dr. Schuler’s  presentation considers the whole of Sochi 2014—the city and the Games—as a Wagnerian gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art.  From the Sochi Bid Book through material renovation of Greater Sochi to the spectacular Opening and Closing Ceremonies, this enormous, myth-making enterprise aimed to immerse spectators in sensuous visual and aural experience in order to persuade them of the Russian resurrection.  If visitors misread the imagery, signage inside the Olympic Park reminded them that Russia was “New, Great, Open!”  But did Putin’s gesamtkunstwerk accomplish its objectives? The gesamtkunstwerk, after all, relies for both its effect and affect on concealing not only backstage mechanisms, but also the drabness and debris of everyday life.  Did cutting-edge technology and the state’s enormous image-making apparatus succeed in concealing the methods of producing and performing Sochi 2014?  Did spectators buy the myth of Russian national resurrection?  Drawing on official and counter narratives of the Putin Olympiad, as well as her own experiences of the city and the Opening Ceremony, Dr. Schuler considers how the Sochi apparatus operated and whether it achieved the desired effect/affect.



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Celebration of Nawruz, the Central Eurasian/Persian New Year


When: Friday, March 20, 6:30pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall

Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia and UW-Madison's Alliance of Kazakh Students


About the Event: Please join us for our annual celebration of Nawruz, the Central Eurasian/Persian New Year. Traditional Central Eurasian music, dance and foods will be featured.


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"One Year Later: The Ukrainian Crisis"

A Panel Looking Back and Moving Forward


When: Monday, March 23, 7:00pm

Where: Union South, TITU

Sponsors: WUD Society and Politics Committee; The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia


Ted Gerber, CREECA Director and Professor of Sociology, UW-Madison

Scott Gehlbach, Professor of Political Science, UW Madison

Andrey Ivanov, Assistant Professor of History, UW Platteville

Elizabeth Peacock, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, UW-La Crosse

Inna Stepaniuk, Fulbright Visiting Scholar, UW-Platteville, Assistant Professor, Zhytomyr Ivan Franko State University, Ukraine


For more information, please click here.



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"Schism and Solidarity: Reclaiming Politics in Putin's Russia"

Jessica Mason, Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison


When: Thursday, March 26, 4:00pm

Where: 206 Ingraham Hall

Sponsors: The Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia; Department of Anthropology


About the Speaker: Jessica Mason is completing her Ph.D. in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she has also lectured in the Department of Gender and Women's Studies. She has a M.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and B.A. from DePauw University. Her interests include gender and LGBTQ studies, social movements, and whatever might be indicated by the term "post-socialism." 


About the Lecture :Activists in Russia struggle with being political, perhaps especially those who take on unpopular causes like feminism and LGBT rights. The disengagement from politics and the state that characterized late socialist subjectivities has found new life under dominant Putin-era ideologies that emphasize authority, stability, and paranoia. Many scholars appeared nearly as surprised as Russians themselves seemed to be when a wave of mass street protests struck Moscow in late 2011: Russia was finally "waking up," as popular protest discourse claimed. Yet even though "civic protest" against corruption and election fraud became popular within this seemingly politicized mass public, "politics" remained something of a dirty word, and gender something of an illegitimate cause. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted with young radical left, feminist, and LGBT activists in Moscow, this presentation explores how marginalized activists negotiated this inhospitable landscape through a combination of schismogenic conflicts and solidarity-building coalition work. Mason shows how whatever its effects on Russian politics at the macro level, the opposition movement provided an important site for activists to cultivate their own sense of agency and to experiment with new forms of self-organization.



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Film: Pharoah



When: Friday, March 27, 7:00pm

Where: 4070 Vilas Hall

Sponsors: Cinematheque, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature and CREECA


Part of the series "Martin Scorsese Presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema"

Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz

Cast: Jerzy Zelnik, Wieslawa Mazurkiewicz, Barbara Brylska


About the Film: In 12th century B.C., Rameses, son and heir to the Pharaoh, experiences a power struggle with Egypt’s high priests in his efforts to wage war on the Phoenicians. Fully restored to its original length, Kawalerowicz’ Oscar-nominated CinemaScope epic is one of the most fascinating and unique in all of Polish cinema.





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Polish Heritage Club's Annual Spring Festival


When: Sunday, March 29, 10:00am

Where: Immaculate Heart of Mary School, 4913 Schofield Street, Monona, WI

Sponsors: Cinematheque, Department of Slavic Languages and Literature and CREECA


About the Festival: A palm Sunday tradition, the Festival features the sale of Polish baked boods, Paczi, packaged Kielbasa and Pierogies (from Chicago), amber jewelry, imported crafts and Boleslawiec pottery, toys, books and much more. There will be displays of Polish history, colorful Polish Easter eggs, plus demonstrations of pisanki (egg painting), wyanki (floral head wreaths), children's activity table and a raffle of traditional Easter baskets. A Polish lunch of pierogi, kielbasa, sauerkraut and rye bread will be served while listening to live Polish music. (Take-out is also available). The Polish Heritage Club is celebrating its 35th Anniversary in 2015. Proceeds from all events support Scholarship Funds, educational and cultural events.


The event is open to the public and free admission. There is ample parking and it is wheelchair accessible.


For more information, call Linda: (608) 244-2788 or (608) 239-0398


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