fresh water guide to valentine's weekend

Given the overlap of Mardi Gras weekend, Valentine's Day and Cleveland’s Kurentovanje Festival, romance and hints of spring are in the air and there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. Take your sweetheart to a ‘90s dance party, ward off winter at the Kurentovanje Festival, see a $1 family movie and keep up the romance on Fat Tuesday and eat a Paczki with your Valentine.

Groove is in the Heart: A '90s Valentines Dance
Friday, Feb. 13th 9pm-2am
Mahalls 20 Lanes

Backstreet's back, alright! And so is Mahall’s ‘90s dance party. Due to the wild success of December’s dance party, they’re doing it again but this time with a Valentine’s Day theme.

“Grumpy Cupid is going to be there handing out candy. There are also going to be drink specials named after famous ‘90s couples including the Whitney and Bobby, Curt and Courtney and the Corey and Topanga,” says Lauren Budin, event founder and ‘90s enthusiast.

Attendees are encouraged to resurrect their favorite ‘90s trends — come dressed in Madona’s cone bra, colorful Fresh Prince style street wear, No Doubt era Gwen Stefani mini buns or a Lisa Frank sweatshirt.

“Couples are encouraged to dress as their favorite ‘90s couple,” she says. “But if you’re flying solo, dress as one half of your favorite ‘90s couple and spot your counterpart. Sparks are going to be flying everywhere.”

The event was spearheaded by Budin as an extension of her ‘90s resale shop, Cattitude Vintage. If you don’t have an outfit planned there will be a Cattitude pop-up shop full of ‘90s clothing at the front of Mahalls. “I like to think of myself of Cleveland’s leader in black velvet and pleather clothing,” Budin jokes.

The event will be DJ’d again by DJ White Rims, DJ Rachel H and MC Uster. Last month’s event sold out by midnight. Get there early and as Biggie Smalls said in his ‘90s anthem Juicy, “It’s all good baby bay-bee…”

Cleveland Kurentovanje 2015
Saturday, Feb. 14 11am-6pm
6409 St. Clair Ave. (between East 62nd  & Addison Rd.)

Chase away the winter and usher in the spring along with a dozen fuzzy mythological creatures. The Kurent is the central figure of the Kurentovanje Slovenian Festival. These 10-foot tall mythological figures wear giant sheepskin coats, have large heads with feather or horns, and wear painted leather masks. The Kurents shake large bells and wave clubs with porcupine spines around the end to scare away the winter.

“For the festival in Cleveland, we have accumulated a collection of about a dozen Kurents, which we purchased and imported from a workshop in Slovenia that specializes in making the Kurent costumes. As far as we're aware, we have largest collection of Kurent costumes outside of Slovenia,” says Nicole Kusold, Kurentovanje committee member.

The festival’s roots are connected to Slavic paganism and mythology. The first modern Kurentovanje was started in 1960 in Ptuj, Slovenia and the festival is now 11 days long and attracts visitors for all over the world. Cleveland Kurentovanje is entirely volunteer-based and was created three years ago as a collaboration with the St. Clair Superior Development Corporation to highlight the neighborhood and its Eastern European heritage.

“As Slovenian-Americans, we're proud of our heritage and were excited to be able to share our culture with a broader audience. Additionally, we thought Kurentovanje would be the perfect answer to that lack of proper Mardi Gras parades in Cleveland,” Kusold says.

The parade starts at noon from St. Vitus Church on Lausche Ave. to the Slovenian National Home on St. Clair. Experience the many different foods, wines, beers, music and dance of Slovenia and Eastern Europe including "Krofe" which are fried, but airey dough balls. There will also be 30 local craftspeople selling homemade edibles and handmade goods. When the Kurentovanje ends, the celebration will move to the official After Party at Sterle’s Country House where guests can enjoy schnitzel, polka, and a shot or two of slivovitz.
$1 Family Films
Saturday & Sunday, Feb. 14-15th
Apollo Theatre (19 E. College Street, Oberlin)
Capitol Theatre (1390 W. 65th St., Cleveland)
Chagrin Cinemas (8200 E. Washington St., Chagrin Falls) 
Shaker Square Cinemas (13116 Shaker Square)
The whole family will enjoy the hilarious animated antics of Scrat the saber-toothed squirrel. Beginning this weekend, Cleveland Cinemas presents a line-up of $1 family films. This weekend kicks off with Ice Age 2: The Meltdown.
Each Saturday and Sunday morning at 11 am for four weeks starting February 14th, select locations will be screening a collection of contemporary and classic family films.

“We’re excited to offer our $1 Family Films this winter,” says Ken Young, Cleveland Cinemas Director of Operations. “With tickets priced at just $1, parents can take advantage of this low-cost opportunity to take their children to the theatre to see these great family films.”

Next up is The Boxtrolls, Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Rio 2. All seats for the films in this series are $1. Tickets will be on sale at the theatre box office or online. Doors open at 10:30 AM. One adult guardian is required for every 10 children.

Fat Tuesday, Paczki Day
Tuesday, Feb. 17th
Polish Village Cuisine, 6301 Fleet Ave.

Keep up the romance and take your Valentine out this Tuesday to a Polish donut. Polish Village Cuisine is busy preparing for Paczki Day. Packzi (pronounced pawnch-ki) is a deep-fried dough shaped into a flattened sphere and filled with a sweet filling.

Since the middle ages in Poland, packzi has been made during the week before Lent.  Polish Catholics were not to consume these foods during Lent due to fasting practices. This year, Polish Village Cuisine will feature a variety of delicious paczki on Fat Tuesday including the traditional plum and rosehips, as well as custard, apricot, strawberry, poppyseed and lemon filling.

Polish Village also offers traditional Polish lunch buffet and Polish foods for carryout including pierogi, kielbasa, potato pancakes, cabbage and noodles, and Polish baked and canned goods and a daily lunch buffet. Polish Village will open on Tuesday at 5 am and Paczki orders can be made in advance by calling (216) 641-5789.

Read more articles by Jacqueline Bon.

Jacqueline Bon is a freelance writer that has been contributing to Fresh Water Cleveland since 2014. As a journalist by trade and self-taught photographer, she has a lot of curiosity in people and their stories. She is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and has pursued film and digital photography for a decade. She is likely to be the first person on the dance floor, especially if you put on Prince.
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