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Busting a move, Balkan style: Brooklynites boogie down at beloved European folk fest - Brooklyn Paper

Busting a move, Balkan style: Brooklynites boogie down at beloved European folk fest

Line dance: Dancers form a line at the 35th annual Golden Festival, a celebration of Balkan music, at the Grand Prospect Hall on Jan. 19.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

Brooklyn Balk-ed up!

Thousands of local music lovers tore up not one, not two, but five dance floors at Park Slope’s gilded Grand Prospect Hall on Jan. 19 during the latest installment of an annual festival featuring folk sounds from the Balkans.

The 35th-annual Golden Festival — known for its tunes original to such southern European countries as Albania, Macedonia, and Montenegro — kicked off on Jan. 18, but things really got groovy when more than 60 bands took the opulent venue’s stages for an eight-hour performance on its second and last day, according to a performer.

“It was great,” said Nadia Grisaru, a singer with Yale University’s Women’s Slavic Chorus who traveled from faraway Connecticut to perform with her group. “It’s always so much fun.”

But the sprawling Hall didn’t just transform into a massive dance floor during the fest hosted by local band Zlatne Uste — it also served as a hub for Near East cuisine, thanks to vendors who hawked all sorts of authentic, Ottoman-inspired fare, according to a participating chef.

“It’s a wide-ranging menu, with traditional dishes not often seen in New York City,” said Ethan Frisch, who served as a kitchen volunteer at the event for the fifth-consecutive year.

The festival’s unique music and cuisine draws a similarly one-of-a-kind crowd each year, and last weekend’s hodgepodge of attendees — who included kids, oldsters, and folks of most every age in between — was no exception, according to Frisch.

“That’s the coolest thing about it, the festival is so specific and esoteric in its conception,” he said. “It’s not marketed beyond very specific groups of people, but people show up and they love it.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.

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