Westfest 2013 Turns Focus From Tragedy To Tradition - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Westfest 2013 Turns Focus From Tragedy To Tradition

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The 38th annual Westfest Labor Day Weekend Celebration kicked off Friday Night in West.

"You meet so many good people." said Robert Zahirniak.

Zahirniak is the go-to-guy at Westfest.

He's worked the information booth at the annual Labor Day Weekend celebration for years now.

This year, though, he says Westfest takes on a whole new meaning.

"It's special for us because so many people are getting off their butt and back on their feet," said Zahirniak.

And, they're a proud bunch of people.

Still reeling from the aftermath of the fertilizer plant explosion, Westfest organizers say this year's event is a time for the community of West to join together in celebration with people from around the world.

Westfest Director Libbie Veselka said, "The response has been wonderful from everyone and we just want everyone to come and celebrate with us."

And everyone is.

Self-proclaimed storyteller and crafter Jane McDaniel comes all the way from Ireland.

"Everything in Ireland has a story," said McDaniel.

So, It's kind of nice to come to Texas and bring your story."

From one rich heritage to another, organizers say Westfest 2013 is not about reliving tragedy but honoring tradition.

"It's a huge homecoming for everyone," said West Resident Cynthia Urbansky. "That's the way I like to think of it."

For festival goers that means authentic Czech music, a plethora of family-friendly activities and plenty of sausage and pastries. '

"They can come out here, have fun and know that they're, that they will be safe," said Zahirniak.  

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