Polish Fest pride

Gray day for Polish Fest.

Gray day for Polish Fest.

As I worked a Saturday morning for the library, I tottered back and forth about plans for my dear wife Karen and I to meet my terrific daughter Elisabeth and wonderful significant George Three at Polish Fest. Dash down James Street to Channel Three in the rain to a morning newscast interview for Outreach Clerk Dave Witkowski and harbor doubts. Wind over to Liverpool for a Carman Community Room book sorting session with the so-nice folks volunteering from the Baptist church where we could see some clearing through the windows and feel my spirits rise.

A daughter-daddy text clinched it. She’s signed for her new car and was in a mood to meet. Festival on for 2 p.m.

It was a full, gray sky when Karen and I arrived a full 15 minutes early, finders of easy parking a few blocks away for both of our cars, better for my lone getaway to Destiny USA to view a movie solo for Monday’s review here.

Dressed for Polish Fest success.

Dressed for Polish Fest success.

We listened to a song or two from the Rymanowski Brothers Orchestra up on the bandstand, both remarking how good their polkas sounded after a year away from the style for us.

Here’s a video snippet I shot of the band playing “The Sunny Skies Polka.”

We also walked the square so I could shoot with my iPhone 6.

Hover over any gallery photo for a description. Click on any image for an enlarged slide show.

When drops began to fall, we decided to wait inside an open-sided tent. We found a stand-at table, too.

Karen and I had chosen what we wanted to eat at the Polish Community Club booth, where Elisabeth had purchased her chrusciki dessert to go last year during our stroll, so she stayed to reserve our table after the kids arrived, and the three of us went to procure our food.

George and Elisabeth, happy to be in line for Polish food.

George and Elisabeth, happy to be in line for Polish food.

This was a change from Eva’s, our usual choice.

But the line at the booth for the Utica community group was by far the longest. I knew we were onto something.

The servers all wore shirts with their first names bearing the Polish pronunciations on the back. One guy was Marek, which was what my great-grandmother who came over from Poland called me. Nice. They all know how to move the food along into the white styrofoam carriers.

All good.

All good.

The kids each got the platter, with a kielbasa sandwich, potato and cheese pierogi and a golumpki. I got a kielbasa sandwich and an order of p-and-c pierogi, and Karen got a golumpki and p-and-c pierogi. It was all better than Eva’s. The brochure I took home tells me about their 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday take-out dinners from Columbia Street in Utica. I’m tempted to take the drive one week.

I dashed out between bites to shoot the Lechowia Dance Company from Toronto.

The fest continues today, for those of you in driving distance of downtown Syracuse.

There’s a pierogi-eating contest at 2 p.m., the first ever in the 62-year history of the fest. Nope. Not for me. Maybe 20 years ago …

Which food item would be your choice to eat at the fest? Which photo is your favorite, and why? Have you ever partaken in a food-eating contest, and I you did or would, which food?

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29 thoughts on “Polish Fest pride

  1. Good morning mark -I mean Marek!
    both video snippets brought me back to me being at my grandmother’s house – especially the polka she played – and would really like golumpki and pierogi – but no contests for me – ha! And I am always amazed at how small the lady is who wins the hot dog eating contests – guess it is all about expansion ability?
    Oh and today in our town is bacon festival – but we are not going — too many other things – well have a good day!

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  2. Hey Mark! To be quite honest I’ve never had Polish food (except for sausage of course) and i have no idea what the various dishes were.Cool post.

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  3. Sounds like fun! I grew up in the southwest so most festivals seemed to have a Hispanic theme. I lived in Wisconsin for about five years and I quickly found out that they had festivals for everything starting the last weekend in May: strawberry, sauerkraut, chocolate, German, Greek, Polish, Mexican, Italian, Irish, Armenian (which sadly I had never heard of until that weekend), Salmon, Harborfest, Summerfest, … and so on. Absolutely loved them all.

    Now that I live in NY, I will have to head to the city and find a few. For now, I’m waiting on the Balloon Festival next month.

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  4. As you know, I love these type of events Mark. Your short videos help to make me feel like I was there. By the way your vids have really improved over the years, how do you keep your hands so still? Are you shooting them with your phone? โค
    Diana xo

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    • Yes, Diana, I shot them with my phone. I will myself to keep the darn thing still as possible. Thanks for your words of support, my dear friend. โค I'm glad they help you feel part of the party. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I used to make golumpki fairly often when my kids were small, and everyone loved them. I tried making pierogi once, but it was too much work for me. Being half-Polish, I pretty much love all that food – except for the duck blood soup (I forget the Polish name for it). My Dad used to like that dish, but no one else would eat it.

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  6. Is kielbasa any different than a polish sausage? I forget. If not, I’ve had those over the years, even out here on the West Coast. Likewise, I think pierogi are close cousins with kasha varnishkes, the Jewish spin on these dumplings. Betcha nobody fries them in schmaltz nowadays, though. Been a good 30 years since I tasted that. One thing you reminded me of, Mark: chrusciki. Wow. Now there’s something you don’t see in California Safeway supermarkets. I remember the original commercial chrusciki, from the White Eagle bakery, which used to have a location on Long Island, in Bohemia, NY. Great memories. Thanks for the column!

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    • I remember White Eagle supermarkets from Brooklyn, where my grandmothers frequented them, for sure, Hammer. They should babka and chrusckiki. When we moved out to Levittown, Long Island, no more White Eagle. I was in elementary school. We brought the Polish stuff back from visits to Brooklyn.

      Yeah, kielbasa is Polish sausage. Same thing. Thanks for dropping by today. Great to meet a new West Coast friend.

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  7. Didn’t know there was a Polish Fest in Syracuse. Will have to remember that next year as there isn’t really one here in Rochester. As for the food-can never go wrong with kielbasa and pierogi’s. And I think I need to find that I’m Polish and I Can’t Keep Calm shirt. I can relate to that sentiment!

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