The Slovak Ball 2022
What a night! Thank you to all our guests, donors, sponsors, volunteers, vendors, and supporters!
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Photos by Jozef & Michal Pavlik
S-ACC Hosts 28th Slovak Ball With Over 300 Guests
The 28th Slovak Ball, organized by the Slovak-American Cultural Center (S-ACC), and held at the Royal Manor in Garfield, NJ, on February 26, 2022, may go down in history as one of the most extraordinary Slovak balls ever held! Whether it was the fact that The Slovak Ball took place after two years of grueling Covid restrictions, or perhaps because this was the only Slovak Ball occurring in the entire world in 2022, or conceivably as a result of the stunning performance of the wonderfully talented Ondrej Kandráč, or maybe because guests savored each other’s company and our precious Slovak culture in the shadow of ominous events unfolding in Europe--the evening was filled with a very sweet and special sense of beauty, celebration, friendship, and joy.
The Slovak Ball began at 7pm with a cocktail hour featuring drinks from Royal Manor’s open bar, including the event’s elegant signature drink, the “Venetian 22”--a take on the “French 77” cocktail-- which proclaimed the evening’s theme of “Masquerade” and which was served beneath an impressive ice sculpture carved in the shape of a masquerade mask. Appetizers included an eclectic mix of American and European hot and cold stations and a selection of Slovak specialties, including Slovak-style open-faced sandwiches (“obložené chlebíčky”), “bryndzové halušky” (the Slovak national dish) topped with bacon and served in smart cocktail glasses, and mini breaded cutlets (“vyprážané rezne”), courtesy of Slovak chefs working in the Royal Manor’s kitchens.
At 8pm guests proceeded to the grand ballroom, decorated to celebrate “Fašiangy” (Slovak carnival) with centerpieces of ornate gold and white trees hung with authentic “perníčky” (Slovak traditional gingerbread) in the shape of masquerade masks decorated with elaborate icing and spelling out “Slovak Ball 2022.” The perníčky were made by Petra of Petra’s Unique Cookies (https://www.petrasuniquecookies.com/), located in Chicago. Petra herself, together with her family, flew in from Chicago to participate in the festivities. Guests took home the perníčky as souvenirs (those which were not eaten on the spot, of course!).
Slovak dignitaries, including the Slovak Ambassador to the U.S. Radovan Javorcik, Slovak Ambassador to the U.N. Michal Mlynar, and Slovak Consul General Milan Vrbovsky greeted guests and offered words of appreciation for the opportunity to celebrate Slovak culture and to share in the joy of the evening while remembering those suffering as a result of war and sickness. Father Visnovsky of Ohio offered the blessing for the meal. Professional ballroom dancers Denisa Jancusova and Marek Gabor, owners of ballroom dance school G&J Studios in Hillsborough, NJ (https://www.gandjstudios.com), officially opened the Ball with an elegant and stunning waltz. Present amongst the 300+ guests were members of such organizations as First Catholic Slovak Union (Slovenska Jednota), SlovakPro, and many Slovak parishes including those of Clifton, NJ, Trenton, NJ, and St. John Nepomucene Church in Manhattan.
Express Band provided outstanding music throughout the evening, including traditional Slovak dance music as well as American and European classics of various genres. Guests danced their hearts out, and the dance floor was continuously full, whether Express Band played Slovak tangos and czardases, Frank Sinatra classics, ABBA hits, or Slovak dance music from the 70’s and 80’s. Meanwhile, the Royal Manor served a multi-course dinner, which included traditional Slovak chicken soup, fresh salad, choice of Royal Chicken, Chateaubriand, or Salmon, and dessert of tiramisu as well as celebratory Slovak Ball cake.
At roughly 11pm, special guest performer from Slovakia Ondrej Kandráč , the legendary musician, artistic director and folk interpreter, took to the stage. Ondrej captured the hearts and minds of his guests, and for the next hour and a half, as Ondrej energetically performed selection after selection of Slovak folk music, both vocally and on the violin, guests danced and sang the night away. Ondrej’s performance was a feat extraordinaire, and on that night Ondrej earned the love and admiration of a Slovak-American audience. Ondrej performed his final music selection together with his son, Ondrej, Jr., an aspiring singer and violinist in his own right! Ondrej maintains a strong online presence and can be followed on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Since returning to Slovakia, Ondrej has announced concerts in Kosice and Presov for the benefit of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. We look forward to following Ondrej in the future and thank him for sharing his unique talents and energy with American audiences.
After midnight, the famous S-ACC raffle began with drawings for unique prizes donated to S-ACC by generous sponsors and donors. Prizes included such items as dinner for four at the residence of H.E. Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations Michal Mlynár, “Dinner in the Sky” at Peak Restaurant, located on the 101st floor of 30 Hudson Yards, donated by the Slovak Consulate in New York, a hand-painted “Jesus the Bridegroom Icon,” courtesy of renowned iconologist Fr. Marek Visnovsky, tickets to a performance of Eugene Onegin at the Metropolitan Opera, weekends in the Hamptons (with fishing excursion) and Catskills (with skiing), a case of POMFY Frankovka Modra Rose Slovak wine, donated by the Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Washington, DC, hand-crafted Klovel klobasy and Petra’s perníčky, a complete set of Slovak language textbooks from the "Krizom-Krazom" series, and Slovak products such as Nestville Slovak whiskey and Goral Vodka from Wesmont Liquors G4 located in Wood Ridge, NJ, amongst many others. Please see below for a list of generous donors and sponsors. Proceeds from the raffle fund SACC’s scholarships for the study of Slovak language and culture at University of Pittsburgh’s Summer Language Institute (SLI), and this year will also fund a special donation for humanitarian aid in Ukraine.
The evening concluded with a midnight buffet featuring roast pig, potato pancakes and all the fixings. Dancing continued until the early hours of the morning. Photos and videos can be viewed by visiting Slovak-American Cultural Center’s website (slovakamericancc.org), Facebook page (Slovensko-Americke Kulturne Stredisko), and Instagram (@slovakamericancc). For those who could not join us, check out the full video of Ondrej Kandráč’s performance on our website. What a night!