The Slovak Ball 2023!
The 29th annual Slovak Ball was held on Saturday, February 11, 2023, at The Royal Manor in Garfield, New Jersey, thanks to the Slovak-American Cultural Center (S-ACC)! This year, a unique tribute to contemporary folk music was held in honor of Slovakia's 30th anniversary of independence. The 480 guests were mesmerized by both contemporary and traditional performances of Slovak and Rusyn folk music by the charismatic Slovak singer, choreographer, and "folklorista" Štefan Štec. Stefan released his debut album, "Poletiv by'm na kraj svita," in 2018, and was awarded a double platinum record for it. We felt privileged to host this distinctive and captivating young performer! Famed Slovak drummer and percussionist Martin Valihora complimented the outstanding Express Band, led by Marek Soltis! Slovak Ball attendees traveled from near and far – Alaska, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Florida, Massachusetts and of course – NJ, NY, PA, and CT! A dozen or more guests joined all the way from Slovakia!
During cocktail hour guests were serenaded by the soulful performance of Ester Wiesnerová, who recently released her debut album, Blue Journal. The evening was filled with a very sweet and special sense of beauty, celebration, friendship, and return to our roots invoking the Return to Folklore theme of the evening!
Upon entering The Grand Ball attendees felt like they were transported to the homeland – Slovakia as it was decorated with ornate traditional Slovak headpieces called “party” and men’s hats from Zemplín and Tatry region representing the Gorals.
Dignitaries in attendance included H.E. Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the U.S. Radovan Javorcik; Permanent Representative of the Slovak Republic to the United Nations Michal Mlynár, his wife Dr. Andrea Mlynárová; Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia and Americas in the United Nations Department of Political Affairs, Miroslav Jenča; Vice-
Consul of the Czech Republic in Chicago, Dr. Monika Bokšová; and Viktor Dvořák– Minister Counsellor at the EU Delegation to the United Nations and his lovely wife Katarina. It was a delight to have many Slovak organizations represented at The Slovak Ball including: Kevin Collins, Executive Secretary at First Catholic Slovak Union; Paul Smithers and wife Lesley representing First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association; Rick Martin, Development Coordinator of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library; Miroslav Konvalina, Director of the Czech Center in NY; Broadway star and recording artist, Luba Mason; Dr. Zuzana Palovic of Global Slovakia; Dr. Martina Hrvolová, Vice Chairman of Friends of Slovakia; Board of Directors of Czech and Slovak Association of Boston; and Slovak Professionals in NY! The Slovak Ball was opened by a greeting by President of the Slovak-American Cultural Center, Sabina Sabados. After remarks by Ambassador Javorčík and Ambassador Mlynár, Father Stefan Chanas of St. John Nepomucene Slovak Church in NYC offered the benediction. In attendance were also Fr. Peter Bujdos and Fr. Martin Vavrak and wife Anka from Perth Amboy.
After midnight, the famous Slovak Ball Raffle began with drawings for unique prizes donated by generous sponsors and donors. The proceeds of the raffle go to support the mission of S-ACC and the Scholarship Fund which gives scholarships to students eager to learn the Slovak language through the University of Pittsburgh’s Slovak Language Studies program. There were 30 prizes as part of the raffle such as: a 750 euro gift certificate toward a handmade Slovak traditional kroj courtesy of Výroba Krojov; a 600 euro gift certificate toward homemade Slovak folklore products courtesy of Cipisek - Jozef Karahuta; a private tour of the White House; house seats to Moulin Rouge: The Musical; tickets to the Metropolitan Opera, weekend trip to the Hamptons with a fishing excursion; Slovak products such as Nestville Slovak whiskey and Goral Vodka from Wesmont Liquors G4 located in Wood Ridge, NJ; basket of goodies from Jednota and so much more!
The evening concluded with a midnight buffet featuring roast pig, potato pancakes and all the fixings. Dancing continued until 2am! A big thanks to the entire S-ACC Board for all the time and efforts dedicated to making the event a success. Thank you to our corporate sponsors: Ivan DP Construction, LLC, First Catholic Slovak Union, FCSLA Life for helping to make The Slovak Ball a huge success! A tremendous word of thanks to all of our Slovak Ball Raffle prize donors!