First, we had to gather a few Lithuanians. The DH and I (each 1/2 stock), took off with Honorary Lithuanians Gretchen and James, toward the home of our pals, John and Ann, where we caught sight of their groovy new bamboo fence, complete with a hand-worked copper rainguard top:
Ann is also 1/2 Lithuanian, and John joined the Honoraries, so we were 3 and 3.
Small world that it is, when I first told Annie that my father's family settled in a Lithuanian community in Brockton, Mass., she immediately started rattling off names of roads and stores and the like. Though I've never visited the area, she remembered clearly the Moneikis Bakery (which was owned by my uncle) from her childhood visits. Annie's Grands were in the same neighborhood and might well have been friends of my Grands.
So it seemed appropriate that we should celebrate the ancestry together. We started out with shopping the tables. I came away with a lovely pair of Baltic amber earrings set in silver -- my first amber!
The festival was held at the Catonsville Armory which contains a Lithuanian "Militaria Exhibit," which we missed, but we did take a minute to check out a proud militia couple, caught in time way before my camera's lens cap even came off!:
I also chatted briefly with the proprietess at Maridana who posed with two real dolls, all three in traditional dress.
At the Maridana booth, I was able to see in person the mittens that caught my eye on-line some months ago:
At that time, I wrote to ask if there were patterns available. First, you know I don't do wool, and secondly, it would be a great experience to try to knit them myself. Sadly, there was nothing available. However, the next table over at the Festival was full of books on many aspects of Lithuanian culture. There I found a historical anthology of Lithuanian "gloves" -- which seems to be the generic name for any hand covering, with fingers or without. The book includes charted design patterns, so I'm hoping to combine them with a generic mitten pattern and come up with a masterpiece! Now I need to search out suitable yarn.
Of course, we had to sample the refreshments. NO! Not the sausage ... the LIQUID refreshment. Here's the group with a teensy, yet potently powerful bottle of viryta, the spicey honey liquor that is synonymous with these gatherings.
Amply warmed by friendship (and the viryta!) we settled in for the dancing. What a show! Eight couples make up the Malunas Folk Dance Ensemble of Baltimore, but only six couples were performing this day. Energetic, spirited, and joyful they were, and we truly enjoyed the show.
A highlight for me was the men's dance in wooden clogs. Since I have a pretty large collection of wooden shoes of various cultures, and a supply of my own homemade viryta, I think we need to plan another gathering and form our own dance group!