On August 10th and 11th 2013, the Knights of Lithuania 144 celebrated the 99thLithuanian Days at the Schuylkill Mall, Frackville, PA. The two day celebration was full of exciting events with a fabulous turnout! On Saturday August 10, 2013, The LITTLE LITHUANIA, USA Historical Marker was unveiled. The marker reads: “A center of Lithuanian settlement since the late 1800’s Schuylkill County’s population has the greatest concentration of Lithuanian ancestry in the US. The coal industry drew many of these immigrants. The local Knights of Lithuania, among the nation’s oldest chapters celebrates and preserves ethnic heritage. Rev. Andrius Stupinskas who led one of the first Lithuanian congregations (1872) is buried at St. George’s Cemetery.”
The theme was LITHUANIAN CUISINE, FOLKLORE, and AND FOLK MEDICINE. The heritage room consisted of a table of the staples in the Lithuanian diet: cucumbers, beets, cabbage, cheese, honey, mushrooms, and rye bread. Visitors could also learn about the mystical drink called “Trejos Devynerios,” a powerful drink, based on Baltic Folk Medicine is believed to have magical powers. Council 144 prepared and sold: Cold beet soup (saltabarsciai), potato pudding (kugelis), meatballs (kotletai) Lithuanian sausage (desros), potato perigees, stuffed cabbage (balandeliai), fresh dill pickles (agurkas). Vendors sold traditional Lithuanian smoked meats, cheeses, bread and traditional wedding sakotis. Lithuanian beer was available at the Screening Room Bar/Lounge as well as a “Boilo Tasting Event.”
The Pennsylvania National Guard graced the stage at the 99th Annual Lithuanian Days, celebrating their 20th year partnership with Lithuania. The Military band played the Lithuanian National Anthem, US National Anthem, and a beautiful rendition from the Broadway musical Les Miserables. Three Lithuanian folk dance ensembles also participated at the event, Malunas, Baltimore, MD, Zilvinas, Philadelphia, PA and Gintaras, Mahanoy City, PA.
On Sunday, August 11, 2013, Zygimantas Pavilionis, the Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States attended the festival after an invitation by Marion Wydra, a member of the Knights of Lithuania Anthracite Council No. 144. He was deeply impressed by the spirit and compassion held by local Lithuanian Americans and is quoted as saying:
“What I observe here is that you have the heart - a real strong Lithuanian heart,". "You have this community feeling. You have the ability of sharing it with charity. You have something that we still need in Lithuania. We need to create different kinds of networks and shared programs. Maybe we can share programs between your high schools and high schools in Lithuania. It's nice that you are celebrating the 99th anniversary, but what can you share as an example to Lithuania. I need that example there. My state will be strong when my citizens are strong, and you are the example of it.”
A great time was had by ALL at the 99th Lithuanian Days celebration! We are looking forward to celebrating our 100th Celebration and invite all Knights of Lithuania members to attend. A BIG thank you to ALL members who volunteered their time and effort to make Lithuanian Days a success!