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World Bee Day Takes Center Stage at the Slovenian Embassy During the EU Open House

On Saturday, May 12, the embassies of the EU Member States in Washington DC opened their doors to visitors. This year's event at the Slovenian Embassy focused on the celebration of the first World Bee Day, which was at the initiative of Slovenia in December unanimously endorsed by the UN General Assembly.

Almost 3000 enthusiastic visitors were able to get acquainted with information about Carniolan bees and our efforts to preserve them. They also had the opportunity to try many types of honey from spruce, linden, acacia to chestnut and some other organically produced varieties from the Upper Carniola region. Several bee pollens were also available but icing on the cake was honey brandy called Medica served in chocolate cups as well as hand-made chocolates from "Radolca". This popular tasting was generously presented by the Tourism Radovljica, led by its director Nataša Mikelj. The guests were also very interested in the life and work of bees in AŽ beehive, donated by the Slovenian Beekeeping LLC from New Hampshire. The walls of the embassy were adorned in beautiful photo exhibition of Carniolan bee titled "LET it BEE" by photographer Tom Urh.

In addition to honey and chocolate, guests were served with other Slovenian delicacies, from Carniolan sausages by Ažman Meats in Cleveland, which in 2006 also fed astronauts of the International Space Station, to the traditional potica cake from Sophie's bakery also in Cleveland. The preparation and tasting of the potica and Slovenian style apple strudel were also shown by Sisters Bajda, who came from Minnesota to Washington DC specifically for this event and baked many strudels themselves at the Embassy. In addition, the tasting of Slovenian wines from the Goriška Brda wine cellar and their distributor in the US Laureate Imports Co., as well as other exceptional wines from Slovenian Premium Wines from New York and the non-alcoholic drinks Fructal and Cockta, were also available. A new Slovenian product - the AL!VE ice cream, which is available to US consumers in the Aldi shops was served in the kids' corner, where children  were coloring bee motifs, and there was an exhibition of the bee-hive with painted panels made by MacFarland Middle School, part of the Embassy Adoption Program.  Children could also get temporary bee tattoos and hear a presentation about Slovenia by Karlo Vidovič.

Representatives of Slovene organizations in the USA were present at the event, including sister cities of Bethlehem and Murska Sobota, Slovenian Union of America and the SNPJ. The history and cultural heritage of Slovenia with original antique maps of Slovenian lands, the presentation of UNESCO protected Idrija lace, Rogaška crystal and products of the Piran saltpans was exhibited. All was accompanied by Slovenian music on the accordion of American Slovenians Patty Candela, Alex Gergar and Kathy Hlad.

Last but not least, Slovenia was presented as a diverse and attractive tourist destination by the Embassy staff in cooperation with the local tourist agency Most Adventures, which specializes in the adrenaline holidays.

Overall response was that it was a great event with hope to see you next year.