History explored during week of Little Balkans Days events

·3 min read

Aug. 29—PITTSBURG, Kan. — An annual festival timed to the Labor Day holiday makes its return with a week full of events.

Little Balkans Days, a festival of history and heritage, will begin with contests and classes Monday and work its way to a full festival of fairs, concerts and even a polka dance throughout Labor Day weekend.

Mining activity throughout in the 1800s offered promises to immigrant families, attracting more of a diverse population than other regions of Kansas, according to the event's website. Most of those immigrants hailed from the Balkans in southeastern Europe — an area that includes present-day Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro and several other countries.

The festival's lineup includes several events that focus on history, including:

—A cooking school, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday at Guadalupe Hall at Ninth and Locust streets. Participants will learn some kitchen knife skills and how to make some Southeast Kansas ethnic foods. Registration is required and can be done so at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/1st-annual-little-balkans-cooking-school-tickets-390011594177.

—Embroidery 101, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Block22's large community room. Participants will learn stitches used on pillowcases, clothing and more.

—Living History Border Wars: School Days, an event for students at the Crawford County History Museum. Two sessions of hands-on history stations, focusing on aspects of daily life, will be offered. They are scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday. Educators can learn more and register at https://www.crawford countymuseum.com/ living-history-sign-up.

—Civil War Living History: Candlelight camp tour, 7 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Crawford County History Museum, 20th and Bypass. Tied to a battle reenactment, participants can watch soldiers being sworn to service and cleaning weapons, as well as women sending off their loved ones to war.

—Civil War battle reenactments, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Crawford County History Museum. Battles will be held at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., with skirmishes and demonstrations throughout the day.

Unique to this year is a concert featuring the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. The band, which formed in 1972 in Springfield, found chart success with the songs "If You Wanna Get to Heaven" and "Jackie Blue." It has reunited to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Mo-Kan All-Stars will be featured in that show, which runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Auditorium, located at 503 N. Pine St.

Before that, the Folk Life Festival will feature a variety of musical performers, including Todd East Band, Kolograd, John Zibert Polka Pans and White Buffalo. The music will be featured from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Lincoln Park.

Other performers featured in their own concerts include Mo-Kan All-Stars, the Duke Mason Band and Stone Country Band set for Sunday at the JJ Richards Band Dome, 813 Memorial Drive.

The festival also features usual attractions, such as a carnival, a car show, a walking parade and a golf tournament.

Attendance to several events requires a passport, which is available at the event's website and at several Pittsburg locations.

A full schedule and details about the passport can be found at little balkansfestival.com.