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Polish Party

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Festival Survives Rain

Polish food, dancing, music, contests and friends were the theme for Sunday’s 6th Annual Little Poland Festival.

“What an event. It was indescribable to see thousands of people having a good time. It is hard to find someone who did not enjoy themselves,” said Lucian Pawlak, event organizer. “We had a beautiful opening ceremony and an extended version of the Polonia Dancers who are always a big hit.”

A few rain showers fell, but attendees ducked for cover and when it was all over, came back for more fun on Broad St. The stage got wet and equipment was pulled off, but events still went on.

“I think undecided people stayed home because of the weather,” said Pawlak. “The kids loved the rain. They did not want to get under the tents. That is a childish attitude some of us have lost. This is a good time to let go. Eat some pierogi, kielbasa and drink Polish beer.”

Despite the intermittent rain, special events such as a paczki eating contest went on a scheduled.

“Everyone had a good time with their friends. Groups of people come together for something they plan and look forward to each year,” said Pawlak. “I am smiling ear to ear. I am glad we pulled it off.”

Those who attended had many good things to say about the event.

“Love the bands, vendors and the celebration of Polish heritage,” said Mike Lockery. “The food was great as always!”

“We went early, got to walk around and look to the items for sale before it got too crowded,” said Marcia Pucinski Janusz. “Next year we need to convince the rain to stay away.”

“The costumed characters were a huge hit as were all the free swag for the kids – fire hat, beads, balloon, and the free fingerprinting were all a big hit. I saw lots of kids who had their faces painted bouncing to the music,” said Suzi Singleton. “The food is one of the main reasons that I went. Everything I had was delicious.”

“City and ethnic pride,” said Rodney Baker. “Very peaceful. Saw people I hadn’t seen in years.”

The fire department brought out their ladder and those who went up were able to see all the way to Hartford.

Over 60 vendors were covering the street all the way to Gold St.

“We broke a record on vendors. We had many more food vendors. That was a good thing as they were spread out over a large area,” said Pawlak. “It spread the festival over a bigger space. Maybe, we can expand to one more block next year, but it may be time to hand the baton over to someone.”

Pawlak has been the organizer for much of the event.

The NB EMS, police department and public works were also on hand to help out with the event. The Little Poland Festival is organized by the Polish Business Association with the help of various sponsors including Sam’s Stores, The Tomasso Group, and Reid and Riege Inc.

“The vendors are great, but without the sponsors we could not pull this off,” Pawlak added.