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Gerald Azember and Johnnie Zibert, members of the Johnnie Zibert Band, play music at the Little Balkans Festival in the Meadowbrook Mall Sunday, Sept. 1 . The band played Polka music for the festival. Gracelyn Haile

Little Balkans’ Days provides community with new opportunities

The “Little Balkans’ Days” festival comes around once a year and this year, there are some new avenues for Pittsburg denizens to partake. 

The Little Balkans’s Days festival took place from Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 at various locations around Pittsburg including Lincoln Park, the Pittsburg Meadowbrook Mall, and Pittsburg Presbyterian Church. Vendors from many different companies and organizations were set up around Lincoln Park and provided information about their individual missions. Organizations set up at the park included Sam’s Club, KOAM News, Calvin’s Catering, Faith Lutheran Church, FLAG Church, the Door Fellowship Church, Pittsburg YMCA, and US Cellular. In addition to these booths, entertainment was provided by live music throughout the day. 

“I think the whole thing is pretty neat,” said Henry Zimmermann, senior in music education. “It makes me think of Old Settlers back home… It’s cool to see everybody out, some with their dogs even…” 

Zimmermann played with a brass ensemble made up of PSU students and faculty. The ensemble included professors of music Todd Hastings on trumpet, Carol Deats on horn, and Robert Kehle on trombone, as well as graduate student in music Davis Erickson on tuba, and sophomore in music education Tyler Fries on trumpet. 

“We played all sorts of stuff..,” Zimmermann said. “The music we selected were pieces we had to put together really quickly, so nothing too challenging… people seemed to really enjoy our sound…” 

Food vendors were set up along the asphalt road next to the baseball fields at Lincoln Park and sold things like cinnamon rolls, homemade root beer and lemonade, and slices of pizza. 

In addition to food and music, set up at the festival were various charitable organizations or booths set up for events happening in the near future in Pittsburg. One such event was the centennial anniversary celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing women with the right to vote, happening on Aug. 13-15 2020. 

“It’s about creating awareness..,” said Catherine Linaweaver, president of the non-profit organization in charge of organizing the event. “We’ve got buttons. We’ve got sashes which they wore (100) years ago.., We’re looking for people to march in the Pittsburg State Homecoming Parade… We’re just all about getting people involved… It’s all about courage, unity, and leadership…” 

Linaweaver also said that the celebration will involve some on-campus involvement with Student Government Association, and other organizations on campus to provide “educational awareness” both of the celebration coming and for “history that has been lost.” 

“They don’t teach enough of our state history any more, and they don’t teach enough about the birth of our nation,” said Bette Lessen, Southeast Kansas coordinator for the centennial celebration. 

The volunteers at the booth also added that the staff supporting Little Balkans’ Days were “extremely nice and friendly.” 

“… We signed up and the staff have been just the kindest,” Lessen said. “We can’t thank them enough for letting us come out and table…” 

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