Balkans Day still entertains

| Daniel O’Rear reporter |

Temperatures in the 90s didn’t stop residents and visitors from enjoying and tasting a variety of beers in the Beer Garden as part of the festivities of the 30th annual Little Balkans Days.
The festival lasted from Friday, Aug. 29, to Sunday, Aug. 31, and celebrates the culture of the Balkan region, which for many Pittsburg residents is also a celebration of their heritage.
In the early 1900s many immigrants from the Balkans traveled and settled in Southeast Kansas, creating a rich history for Pittsburg.
The Labor Day weekend festival brings hundreds out to drink, eat, enjoy and celebrate the Balkan influence on Pittsburg.
“I’m having a great time,” said Darren Mitchell, president of Little Balkans Days association.
One attraction of this year’s festival included the beer garden, sponsored by the Kiwanis organization. Admittance to the garden was $1, which did not dissuade many from buying a beer or two.
But Jamie Patterson decided not to capitalize on people’s thirst, but their hunger.
She opened a crepe stand for the event.
“I traveled to Austin, Texas, to learn how to properly make crepes,” she said.
The stand offered a variety of crepes from desert, such as lemon and sugar, to more filling versions such as roast beef, chicken and even the “Cuban,” a spicy combination of beef and veggies.
Lemon crepes weren’t the only sweets of the festival.
The Hotel Stillwell and the United Way held a cake-judging contest in the hotel’s ballroom. For a $4 admission fee, guests escaped the heat and enjoyed the air-conditioned room while viewing more than 50 cakes divided into four categories of competition.
The winning cake was determined by the amount of money placed in its coin jar. At the end of the day, a Yoda-shaped cake took first place for the adult-professional category. The cake was almost as tall as the stack of coins standing next to it.
Those looking to buy cake instead of looking at it headed to the United Methodist Church for its annual cake, homemade ice cream and pie social.
The social began at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with not a seat open.
“We’re close to parking,” said Rodney Augers, church member and volunteer for the social.
Augers says the parking proximity led to easy access for the social, creating a high attendance.
For those who liked to run, an invitational run was held at 11th and Broadway on Sunday morning at 7 a.m. with a heat for adults and one for kids. The first 50 children entered into the free race received T-shirts.

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