The sun shone, the rain held off and some 75 people turned out on Sunday 9th July for the British-Slovene Society’s annual picnic in Henley alongside the traditional Slovene hayrack (kozolec). The hayrack looked so authentic that it might have been there for 100 years or so. In fact, it was erected by artisans from Slovenia only 18 months ago.
A 22-strong Bled Folklore ensemble came over from Slovenia to help us celebrate the 30th anniversary of our Society with great verve and style. Dancers, musicians and singers led by Deputy Mayor Iztok Pesrl created a true Slovene veselica (village feast), whooping and whirling around in their period costumes. Jovial village women invited somewhat shy Britons to join them in the dance – and none refused. To round the festivities off, Kaja Pečnik’s UK Slovene Choir sang the Slovenian national anthem and other rousing Slovene songs.
It was delightful to welcome the large delegation from Bled, since that beautiful town alongside a lake surrounded by mountains is twinned with Henley-on-Thames, where the famous regatta has just finished. Henley’s Mayor and several Councillors turned out to join in the merry-making. Families came with children, who could take part in a painting workshop.
We are grateful to the Office for Slovenians Abroad for their financial support in celebrating our 30th anniversary.