University of Pittsburgh
October 29, 2014

Pitt to Host 24th Annual Slovak Heritage Festival Nov. 2

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Hundreds of Slovak-Americans and fans of Slovak culture are expected to gather Sunday at a free public festival at the University of Pittsburgh, where guests may taste haluski, applaud song and dance performances, learn Slovak expressions, and shop at craft booths. The 24th Annual Slovak Heritage Festival will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 2 in the Commons Room of the Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

Allegheny County has the highest percentage of residents with Slovak heritage in the United States, says Martin Votruba, head of Pitt’s Slovak Studies Program, which is presenting the festival along with the Pitt Student Slovak Club. The Slovak Studies Program also is the only one of its kind in the country, where students can follow Slovak language and culture classes and opt to receive a minor in Slovak studies.

At the festival, food offerings will include haluski (pan-fried noodles and cabbage), holupki (stuffed cabbage), klobasa (sausage), and pirohi (a variant of pierogi dumplings), among other ethnic dishes and pastries.

Attendees will be able to explore Slovak heritage at several lectures, including:

“Ej, Detva, Detva: An Exploration of the Music of the Detva Region,” Ben Sorensen, 1:15 p.m., 242 Cathedral of Learning

“Pearls of Wisdom: Slovak Expressions for Every Occasion,” Thomas Check, 2 p.m., 252 Cathedral of Learning

“The Tailor from Lendak: Revised,” Paul Kostyak, 3 p.m., 242 Cathedral of Learning

“On 100th Anniversary of World War I: Mayhem from an Operatic Murder to a Slovak Dawn,” Martin Votruba, 4 p.m., 252 Cathedral of Learning

Local performers will include the Pittsburgh Area Slovaks, Pittsburgh Slovakians, and Slavjane Folk Ensemble. The Slovak Heritage Festival will also feature the Singing Revilak Family and Jozef Ivaska, well-known musical stars in Slovakia.

Originally from the Slovak Republic, the Singing Revilak Family has performed a lively and varied folk song repertoire on European, Canadian, and American stages for more than 30 years. The Revilaks grew up singing in the city of Bardejov, Slovakia. They received numerous awards in nationwide laureate folklore competitions in Bratislava and Zilina, Slovakia, and have produced numerous CDs.

Jozef Ivaska is known in Slovakia as “the Man of a Thousand Songs.” Ivaska now lives in Baden, Austria, where he sings with the Metropolitan Operetta Theatre, but is frequently called on to sing for important functions throughout Slovakia. He graduated from the Bratislava Conservatory of Music, where he studied opera. Ivaska was active in the rock and pop music scene in Ruzomberok and Zilina and founded the rock group Sirius in the early 1980s. Ivaska and the Singing Revilak Family’s CDs will be available for purchase at the festival.

For more information about the Slovak Heritage Festival, contact festival director Christine Metil at 412-624-5906 or

Kathryn Fike contributed to this announcement.