Polish Festivals around the World: Part 2
no-image, Polish Festivals around the World: Part 2
If you live far from Poland but would like to get to know Polish culture, don’t despair! There’s a good chance a Polish festival is held somewhere near you.
There are over 20 million Poles living all over the globe, and they keep their heritage alive with an impressively varied array of events. In this follow-up article, we take a look at some must-see Polish festivals that didn’t make it onto our first list.
Polish Fest ‒ Milwaukee
Milwaukee proudly displays its Polish-American identity, and the city is home to what many consider the largest Polish festival in North America. Polish Fest has been taking place once a year since 1981 and often attracts over 35,000 visitors. The 2016 edition will take place between 17 June and 19 June and will include a Non-Stop Polka Stage with concerts, Polish cooking workshops, and activities for kids.
Dożynki ‒ Edmonton
Dożynki (pronounced: Doh-zhyn-kee) is a traditional Polish celebration of the end of harvest. Since 2006, the Edmonton-based Canadian-Polish Historical Society, which focuses on promoting Polish culture and history, has been organising a Dożynki festival. In 2015 the yearly event featured a bread-sharing ceremony as well as Polish dances and choir performances.
Taste of Pierogi ‒ Bridgeview
If you’re mostly interested in Polish cuisine, the Taste of Pierogi festival in Bridgeview, Illinois is for you! One of its main attractions is a pierogi eating contest ‒ in 2015 the winner ate 30 dumplings in 2 minutes and 24 seconds! Those who prefer enjoying their food calmly can sample the many Polish specialties on offer. Live music and carnival rides are also on the menu.
Polish Festival ‒ Portland
Usually held in September, in recent years this festival has drawn crowds of over 10,000 people. It typically features a polka dancing competition and several live concerts. In 2015 entertainment included on-stage performances by the Polish folk dance group Polonez and the Polish-American pop-rock band Yazda.
Polfest ‒ Guarani das Missões
Guarani das Missões is often regarded as the Polish capital of Brazil. Over 70% of its population has Polish roots, which is celebrated yearly at a Poland-themed festival called Polfest. It usually features folk handicrafts, a football tournament and, of course, traditional Polish food.
Polish Film Festival ‒ Los Angeles
The biggest festival of Polish cinema on American soil, the Polish Film Festival has been organised annually since 1999 and has become increasingly popular in recent years. In October 2015, the event kicked off with a screening of Obywatel (The Citizen), a film by the renowned Polish actor and director Jerzy Stuhr, at the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. Prominent film stars and directors from Poland are usually in attendance.
Polish Festival ‒ San Diego
Another long-running Polish festival in California, this San Diego-based event was first organised in 1995 on the premises of the St. Maximilian Kolbe Church. Traditionally the festival puts emphasis on Polish folk dancing. In 2015, the program included performances by Polish-American dance groups as well as a concert by the Polish-Austrian baroque chamber orchestra Il Giardino d'Amore.
Dyngus Day ‒ Cleveland
In Poland Śmigus Dyngus (pronounced: shmee-goose dyn-goose) is the traditional custom of throwing water at passers-by on Easter Monday. Dyngus Day Cleveland is a one-day festival celebrating this amusing custom that has been taking place annually for the last 6 years. The 2016 edition took place in March and featured live polka music, a Miss Dyngus Day pageant, a parade, and of course − water fights.
Author: Marek Kępa, May 2016
Many thanks to Shannon Tanski, Thiago Bolivar, Irene Barszczewski Shindelka, Ed Kedzia, Richard Polakiewicz and Richard Kim Klepacz for the tips!