Festal: CroatiaFest, Oct. 2

Acclaimed dance ensembles, art exhibits, foods, tourism information, intricate costumes and historical displays explore this rich culture at Seattle Center Festál:  CroatiaFest, 12pm-6pm, Sunday, Oct. 2, in Seattle Center Armory.

The 13th annual festival celebrates and shares the theme – The Croatian Immigrant Experience. Join moderator Rosana Sablić in Armory Loft 4 for a series of interviews exploring the personal stories of Croatian immigrants, 1pm-3pm

A kick-off celebration begins the festival with a participatory dance and sing-along featuring music by Rakija Bend and Sinovi at the Russian Community Center, 704 19th Ave. E, in Seattle, 6pm-11:30pm, Saturday, Oct. 1. The music continues on Sunday in performances by Tamburaški Orkestar Kardinal Stepinac, Dave and the Dalmatians, Kišobran, Rakija Bend and Sinovi Tamburitza Orchestra. Dancers and musicians in vibrant costumes present traditional folk dances in performances by Zavičaj, Seattle Junior Tamburitizans, Skalinada, Vela Luka Croatian Dance Ensemble with Ruže Dalmatinke, Žumberčani and Radost Folk Ensemble. Participatory kolo (circle) dancing invites festival-goers to take a turn on the Armory dance floor, 2:55pm-3:15pm.

Engaging lectures, film screenings, interviews and demonstrations in the Armory Lofts offer learning opportunities throughout the afternoon. Moderator Gordona Crnković leads a discussion following a screening of “Ti Mene Nosiš” (“You Carry Me”), 3:30 p.m. Explore “Marriage Records:  The Link Across Generations” in a lecture by genealogist Barbara Starkey, 2:30pm and 4pm. Two interviews conducted via Skype allow guests to interact directly with master craftspeople living and working in Croatia, with a demonstration of the traditional art of coral jewelry making, 1:30 p.m., and a discussion of the traditional silk costumes of the Konavle region, 2:30pm. Learn recipes for brudet sa kumpirima (Dalmatian-style fish and potato stew) and puži (snail shaped cookies) in cooking demonstrations at 2pm and 3pm.

A lively marketplace serves delicious Croatian cuisine including sarma (meat stuffed cabbage rolls), povitica (walnut bread), palačinke (Croatian-style crepes), kobasica (sausage with a bread roll), burek (meat or cheese filled savory pastry), pećena janjetina (barbecue lamb sandwiches) and čevapčići (sausage on pita bread). Festival-goers 21 and over may attend a Croatian wine tasting presented by Tom Kuker with live music by Bonaca and Dave and the Dalmatians, $15, doors open at 2pm.

Other festival attractions include a reading by Chicago-based author Rosemary Babich Gard, bobbin lace making demonstrations, a display of Croatian folk costumes, booths offering Croatian handcrafts and children’s arts and crafts activities.

Seattle Center Festál is a program of Seattle Center Productions. Admission is free-of-charge. For more information on this collection of ethnic cultural events and other Seattle Center public programming, visit www.seattlecenter.com or call 206 684-7200. Learn more about Seattle Center Festál:  CroatiaFest at www.croatiafest.org.