Salute to Slovenia held in Ely

by Nancy McReady
For a couple of years, Ely Slovenian Union of America, Branch 23 had the Taste of Slovenia events at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church which was attended by hundreds of people who enjoyed great Slovenia foods. Covid prevented having the Taste of Slovenia the past few years. This year the SUA decided to do something different.
A wonderful Salute to Slovenia with a picnic to welcome Krila singing group from Slovenia was planned.
A Krila concert Friday evening at Vermilion Community College was sponsored by SUA Branch 23 of Ely and Northern Lakes Arts Association. 
Krila is a group of thirteen friends who began gathering to sing for their own enjoyment 30 years ago. They celebrate 30 years of Slovenia’s independence with their singing. Krila is the Slovenian word for wings. They sing Slovenian folk songs, and songs about Slovenia.
Minnesota is home to many Slovenian-Americans who value their common heritage. Many Slovenians immigrated to the Iron Range and to Ely.
Thank you to Miro and Karen Medved and Alvina and Albin Medved for their part in bringing Krila to Ely, Minnesota. The group stayed with Medved’s at their home on White Iron Lake.
Thank you to Frank Udovich for hosting the picnic at Creek Ridge on White Iron Lake.
Food was made by SUA members, including Slovenian favorites such as sarma (cabbage rolls), walnut potica, apple strudel, krofe (sugared raised donuts), and fatiman (crisp Slovenian cookie dusted with powdered sugar).
Music was provided by Fred Godec’s band, Slovenian Invasion.
Longtime president of SUA Branch 23, Pat Koski, was honored with a bouquet of flowers.
The Krila concert was held at Vermilion Community College theatre.
Karen Medved accompanied the sing group on piano and button box. The last song Krila sang, Home on the Range, had a change to the lyrics just for Ely. Instead of singing ‘where the deer and the antelope play’ they sang ‘where the bears and the timberwolves play’ in recognition of Ely’s American Bear Center and International Wolf Center.
This was a very enjoyable event for all who attended the picnic and the concert. Ely’s SUA group hopes to do more events like this in future.