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What keeps 'em coming back to Irwin Ethnic Food Festival and Craft Show? Everything

Shirley McMarlin
| Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 4:11 p.m.
The Trafford Junior Tamburitzans  will perform again this year at the Irwin Ethnic Food Festival and Craft Show on June 9. Here, they are shown performing at the 2017 festival.
Tribune-Review
The Trafford Junior Tamburitzans will perform again this year at the Irwin Ethnic Food Festival and Craft Show on June 9. Here, they are shown performing at the 2017 festival.
People gather on Main Street in Irwin and enjoy food and crafts at the Irwin Ethnic Food Festival and Craft Show in 2017. This year's festival is set for June 9 on Main Street.
Kyle Hodges
People gather on Main Street in Irwin and enjoy food and crafts at the Irwin Ethnic Food Festival and Craft Show in 2017. This year's festival is set for June 9 on Main Street.
Jason Kelly, one of the owners of Steel City Chimneys, passes out a chimney cake at the 2017 Irwin Ethnic Food Festival and Craft Show. The 15th annual festival will be held on June 9.
Tribune-Review
Jason Kelly, one of the owners of Steel City Chimneys, passes out a chimney cake at the 2017 Irwin Ethnic Food Festival and Craft Show. The 15th annual festival will be held on June 9.

There's something about the Irwin Ethnic Food Festival and Craft Show that keeps folks coming back year after year. Maybe more than one thing.

“People like the food, the crafts, the entertainment, everything,” says Lillian Woleslagle of North Huntingdon, who organizes the craft show.

More than 3,000 people attended last year, according to the Irwin Business & Professional Association, which hosts the one-day event along with Irwin Borough.

The 15th annual festival is set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 9 on Main Street in downtown Irwin.

The street will close to traffic for the duration of the festivities.

If you go, bring along a taste for food from the old country. Food booths will feature traditional Slovak, Croatian, Serbian and Italian fare, such as the ever-popular haluski, halupki and spinach and cheese-filled pitas, along with cevapcici (a mix of grilled pork and beef) and palacinka (also known as a crepe).

“The baked goods are always popular,” Woleslagle says. “If we run out of that, oh my!”

Apple strudel and nut rolls are perennial favorites.

Live entertainment will kick off with polka music by Mikey Dee and His Balkan Boys at 10 a.m. The group will perform sets through mid-afternoon.

The Trafford Junior Tamburitzans will perform Eastern European music and dance numbers beginning at noon.

The group comprises young people from across the United States, Canada and Croatia and welcomes members from all nationalities, according to its website.

Throughout the day, strolling dancers and musicians representing the Finnish Nationality Room in the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning will be found amid the crowds.

More than 40 craft vendors will be on site, with homemade merchandise including dog treats, crocheted items, themed wreaths, painted gourds, birdhouses and other woodcrafts.

“I like the homemade stuff,” Woleslagle says. “To me, that's what makes it a real craft show.”

Other vendors will offer specialty items including Lularoe clothing, jewelry and essential oils.

Details: downtownirwin.com

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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