This past weekend, St. Petka Orthodox church in Orlando hosted the 12th annual SerbFest. This, now traditional, festival brought over 5,000 people to our church grounds. All of the proceeds made will go toward the construction of our new church. The church parishioners volunteered their time by cooking, baking, selling, cleaning, setting up, etc. all in hopes of raising money to profit the church. Their work helped create three unforgettable days.
After three thrilling yet exhausting days, I recollect the memories made. Friday night brought mostly rain and with that, a wet stage. After spending months teaching the young kids their folklore choreographies, it looked as though they never danced before, sliding across the stage in their little “opanke”. The best thing about dancing kids: when one falls, they all fall. Nonetheless, the girls’ biggest worry was whether the red lipstick I put on them was still intact. If it was, everything else was fine as well. As for us older dancers, a few falls made for enormous laughs. And the show went on.
On Saturday, I found myself at the Orlando Fox news station, barely awake but ready to dance. Our music started early and caught us off guard, so I’m sure there will be people commenting on how we cannot dance, yet again this year. Oh, how the internet can ruin your mood. But we didn’t care. Walking into SerbFest after the live show, all of the church grandmas pointed to us, saying they watched us on TV. I’m sure they thought we were famous by this point. I, then, indulged in a nutritious breakfast of crepes with Nutella and a cold Nes coffee. Later I had the “pljeskavica” with “urnebes”, something I haven’t eaten since my summer in Trebinje.
Sunday came about and I could not feel my legs, nor keep my eyes open. And the fake eyelashes didn’t help with that. After I put on my makeup and costume to dance, I walked past the kids ‘corner, where everyone was screaming and jumping up and down the bouncy houses, making an effort to knock them down, something only our kids would attempt to do. As I walked past, two little girls ran up to me with their dad and said, “Dad it’s a princess!” I laughed and waved, while he explained their obsession with Disney princesses. They requested a picture and so we took one, but I didn’t include the autograph.
Every new festival brings about new unforgettable memories, that we cherish forever. While foreigners to our church enjoy the food and entertainment of Serbian culture, we enjoy hosting them. It is our pleasure to show what our beautifully unique heritage has to offer. Regardless of the lack of sleep that SerbFest brings us, we always wait around for next year’s October to come.
photo gallery from SerbFest 2017