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Butte's annual Serbian Food Festival returns for 2023

Serbian Food Fest in Butte
Posted at 2:10 PM, Aug 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-03 16:10:25-04

BUTTE — BUTTE— Butte is a melting pot of cultures due to its underground mining heritage that brought immigrants from across the world. The Mining City has multiple festivals celebrating different cultures, and this weekend it is the Serbian’s turn to celebrate their heritage with the annual Serbian Food Festival.

"This week we have had all of our parishioners and some of our friends come and help bake with us all week long," says Denise Horne, president of the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church.

The church kitchen has been busy with a team of people chopping apples, kneading dough, and popping food in and out of the ovens. But cooking like this hasn’t always been a tradition for some of the parishioners.

"Well, you had it almost every day and so you were lucky that you had the grandparents, the aunts, the moms, the dads that could cook that way," says Horne.

Horne says recent generations didn’t have as much experience cooking Serbian foods but the festival is helping to revive the tradition.

"Come to our generation, we weren’t as good as that, you know, a little bit of fast food here and there for your kids and then when you served a dinner like this it would be rare," says Horne.

Horne says traditional food is just as much a part of Butte’s fabric as it is a part of the church community with different ethnic backgrounds from Serbian and Croatia adding their own twist to foods like apple pita or povitica.

"And we all make it just beautifully and so yummy," says Horne.

The festival is a fundraiser and Horne says this year’s proceeds from traditional food like sarma, kielbasa, povitica, baklava, and barbecued lamb and pork are going to help renovate the church kitchen. So all of the chopping and peeling and kneading and cooking will bring a new kitchen that will help keep the festival alive for years to come.

"You know we built this in 1965-64 and so our kitchen is ready for an overhaul, so we are adding to the back and to the front of the kitchen and we need a complete overhaul in there," says Horne.

The event takes place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and includes dance performances from a traditional dance group and a Greek singer as well as free church tours where visitors can see an iconographer restoring the religious icon paintings that grace the walls of the church.

"Come and celebrate with us," says parishioner Jennifer Shea.

"Like I always say, Butte is a special place where we celebrate everybody’s ethnic backgrounds here and this weekend is Serb Fest. We’re celebrating the Serbian heritage and so please come join us and share in the fun and share with our ethnic heritage and the food that we eat and enjoy."