Dozynki is a Harvest Festival traditionally done in Poland when the final harvest is complete. In New Britain it is a chance not only to celebrate the end of the harvest season, but the Polish community and its traditions.
“Dozynki has been going on for 1,000 years,” said Lucian Pawlak, of the Polish American Council of Greater New Britain. “Some people say it predates Christianity in Poland. It celebrates a good harvest and thanking God for a bounty.”
Thirty-three years ago, three people got together and decided with the large Polish population to recreate the celebration right in New Britian. Originally, it was a 3-day street festival on Broad St. from Friday through Sunday. It drew people from all over New England and New York.
“I remember one year there were 50,000 to 60,000 people,” said Pawlak. “The decision was made 15 years ago to move it to a more appropriate setting because it was a celebration done in the fields.”
It was then moved to Falcon Field on Farmington Ave.
“There is always a rumor it is going back to Broad Street, but I don’t think that is happening,” said Pawlak. “Falcon Field is a more natural setting.”
The most important part to the Polish community is the mass that starts at 11 a.m. that kicks off the event at the pavilion field.
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell will perform the ceremony.
“We have been very fortunate to have the archbishop as the celebrant of the mass,” said Pawlak. “This year the Governor (Dannel Malloy) is coming and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland (Ewa Junczyk-Ziomecka) is coming from New York.
A concert follows the mass by the The Polonia Paderewski Choir who is one of the honorees this year. The choir is celebrating their 60th anniversary.
“They are always in great voice,” added Pawlak. “The kids from the Polish language school are really heavily involved and they perform both singing and dancing.”
Dancers are also coming from Bridgeport and the Polish Scouting Organization will put on a program about Pope John Paul II.
“A lot of people come for the food,” said Pawlak. “I never knew Polish food was so popular.”
Baltic and Fatherland Restaurants will be on hand serving Polish fare. The Polonia Paderewski Choir will be running the kitchen. There will be arts and crafts with jewelry, pottery and several community organizations such as the League of Women Voters. In the evening there will be bands as well as polka on Sunday afternoon. There will be rides for kids as well.
“We probably will have about 5,000 people over the two days,” said Pawlak. “We like providing people with first class entertainment. There is no doubt it is the Premier Polish Harvest Festival.”
Funds from parking will go to the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative.
Donations will also be made to the Explorers and other community groups.
Sponsors include Webster Bank, Liberty Bank and Farmington Bank. The event is not subsidized by the City. The entire event is done from the funds raised for the event and by the council.
“We want our friends and neighbors in the region to enjoy the Polish customs and traditions,” Pawlak added. “It’s the highlight of the year for many people in the Polish community.”
Hours are Saturday, Aug. 25 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday Aug. 26 from noon to 10 p.m.