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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Honoring Eastern European Roots & Autumn Equinox

The autumn equinox, a time of balance between day and night, heralds in the celebration of Vinotok in Crested Butte, Colorado from September 18 to 24.  
Meaning “fall wine festival” in Slovenian, Vinotok culminates on September 24 after several days of celebrating and commemorates the bounty of the summer harvest and gathering of the community before the long winter ahead.
It is a time of village feasting, of forgetting the woes of yesterday and honoring traditional Eastern European roots. In the midst of the 26th annual celebration is a colorful array of medieval characters, a street theatre performance, storytelling, and music. 
The origins of Vinotok began when creator and now “Godmother” of the event, Marcie Telander, sat around the pot belly stove at Tony’s Conoco, listening to the “old-timers” of Crested Butte tell stories from their native lands of Austria, Hungary, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Italy and Slovenia. 
A common thread emerged. Many of these cultures had a wine festival in the fall when, as they were putting down wine for the upcoming year, the old wine from the previous year had to be drunk.  They roasted a goat, told tales and danced polka.  A fire was always present, a vestige of ancient cultures asking the sun to not stay away too long.  
It was typically on the fall equinox, a time of planetary balance, and in those cold countries, the start of the new year.  They celebrated what they harvested – the hay, children and stories of those who had created roots in a new land.
For more details of the Vinotok celebration and to find out more about other area events or to book personalized vacation packages, call the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association’s toll-free line (800) 814-8893, or visit www.gunnisoncrestedbutte.com/
For more information about top events in Colorado take a look at the Top Events USA selection of the annual main festivals and events in Colorado.