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San Francisco Croatian Festival

San Francisco Croatian Festival

The Croatian Festival (formerly the Marko Polo Festival) is a celebration of Croatian music, dance, food, and heritage.

Marko Polo, the famed Croatian explorer, was born on the island of Korcula, off the Dalmatian coast of Croatia. To highlight his achievements as one of the men to open the Far East to trade, the Slavonic Cultural Center celebrates an annual Marko Polo Day in October with a festival of Croatian and international music, dance, and ethnic food.

Since Korcula was part of the Venetian Empire, he is usually thought to be an Italian, but the people of Croatia know he belongs to them. Many immigrants from Korcula settled in San Francisco during the early 20th century. They joined the thriving San Francisco Croatian community, which began during the Gold Rush era. Dances and music from Korcula are part of the folklore preserved at the Croatian American Cultural Center.

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