Little Balkans Days returns after last year’s cancellation

PITTSBURG, Kan. —This Labor Day weekend, the city of Pittsburg returns to its roots.

“We honor our ethic and immigrant heritage because Pittsburg, Kansas, and the Southeast Kansas area was an immigrant melting pot. So every labor day we celebrate that history, the coal mining history of the area,” said Angela Meyer, President of the Little Balkans Days Festival.

The city does this with its annual Little Balkans Day festival. The three-day event showcases different cultures through, music, art, food, and more.

“So we have cooking demonstrations in Lincoln Park, we have all kinds of live music, the bagpipes are getting ready to start here. We’ll have a folklife festival all day long with local color, JT Colonel at the emcee, we’ll have poetry readings,  Slovenian music, Polka music, Country, Bluegrass,” Meyer said.

The bagpipes at this year’s festival were played by Orin Weiss, something he was shocked to be able to do.

“I like Little Balkans, we’ve attended before. I never really thought that I’d be on the stage though, my brother and sister were always the singers but I play the bagpipes and I guess that’s what ill be doing up there. I’m excited to play here,” Weiss said.

Saturday’s festivities also included a dog show. One winner, Chloe Riska says she’s proud of her dog Billie, especially for learning new tricks as an older dog.

“I was really proud of her because she learned all of those tricks super duper fast,” Riska said. 

These types of events are uncommon for local festivals, something Little Balkans days, which is in its 36th year, is proud of. 

“It’s not your average fall festival, we have a full lineup tomorrow as well, with a polka dance and a chicken dinner in the mall…. we even brought back the original cookbook from 1985,” said Meyer.