European culture on show this weekend in Iowa

February 28, 2019

Anyone interested in central and eastern European culture will have two events to sample this weekend in northern Iowa.

The first is the 13th annual Masopust celebration, billed as the Czech Mardi Gras, Saturday at the Protivin Community Center in Protivin, Iowa.

On Sunday, the Luther College Balalaika Ensemble will perform at Decorah college.

• The Masopust celebration is hosted by the Czech Heritage Partnership as a fundraiser for the organization’s family history and documents center. The area of Protivin and Spillville was settled by immigrants from the Czech lands, and is known worldwide as a temporary home of composer Antonin Dvorak in 1893.

The event starts at 1 p.m., and will include live music, dancing, live and silent auctions and a Czech meal served at 6 p.m. Ethnic costumes are welcome. Tickets are $35; 563-380-3015.

• The Luther Balalaika Ensemble is lead by Laurie Iudin-Nelson, professor of Russian studies, and is composed of students and alumni. The concert will feature Russian and Ukrainian folk songs played by fully costumes musicians on traditional Russian folk instruments.

The program is at 1 p.m. in Shirley Baker Commons on the Luther campus. Admission is free, and children are encouraged to attend.