Even though the Poles do not celebrate our Thanksgiving holiday, that doesn’t mean you can’t add a little Polish taste to your family dinner … perhaps serving Lisa Lotze’s award-winning carrot pierogi stuffed with spinach and asiago cheese.… Check out our friend Babara Rolek’s column on the subject here

Showin’ our holiday spirit at Millcreek Park
Polish Youngstown is one of 45 not-for-profit organizations decorating a tree at the Davis Center in Mill Creek Metroparks for the Winter Celebration 2014 being held throughout December. Keeping with our old-style theme, we are continuing to make paper stars and acquiring straw ornaments from Poland to adorn the tree.  Why not share some holiday spirit? Led by Community Outreach Coordinator Marianne Poprik, volunteers will decorate the tree December 2 & 3 starting at 10 AM and welcome your participation. For more info, call 330-333-9724.

From Solidarity to Democracy to leading the European Union
Our Polish history series catches up to recent events at its next session.  In 1989-1991, Poland engaged in a democratic transition which put an end to the People's Republic of Poland and led to a democratic regime, called the Polish Third Republic. After ten years of democratic consolidation, Poland joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.  That’s a profound transformation, marked by the return of democracy and redevelopment of civil society. How did all of this affect the people and the culture? Come learn more and see how much you really know about Poland today!

For more info, call 330-333-9724. Join us at First Presbyterian Church on Wick Avenue, Youngstown   

·         LECTURE #6 : Poland Today: From Solidarity to Democracy to leading the European Union

Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 6 PM   Presented by Dr. Edward Horowitz,

Director of the Polish Studies Initiative Cleveland State University

Be Part of the Holiday Parade & Show Your Slavic Pride
Simply Slavic leadership is looking for YOU to make a splash at this year’s annual Downtown Holiday Parade and tree lighting. They are looking to each of the 13 nations to represent and present a group of happy Slavs. PYTown will provide the Polish Flag and banner to carry it along the short parade route. The response we received from the crowd last year was great! Can you help us make sure Poland is represented? Mark your calendars for Friday, December 5 at 5 PM for staging and step off at 5:30 PM. For more info, call 330-333-9724.

Youngstown Nutcracker has a Polish angle
PYTown friend Staś Kmieć is putting a unique spin on a traditional holiday classic at Ballet Western Reserve. In his role as artistic director he has created “A Youngstown Nutcracker.” The storyline will reflect the diversity of Youngstown culture with both the traditional lighting of the Christmas tree, along with the lighting of the Hanukah candles and other cultural elements as the Stahlbaum family is now of an interfaith marriage.  Included in the mix of historical figures from the city’s past will be Mr. & Mrs. John Piatkowski, thought to be the first Poles to settle in Youngstown.  The roles (which will have a spoken element in the Prologue) will be portrayed by Aundréa Cika Heschmeyer (director of Polish Youngstown).  In Act II’s “Dream” sequence, Mrs. Piatkowski will transform into Mother Ginger (“Matka Imbir”), who like one of the folk nesting dolls holds multiple children under her skirt.  Elevated 4-feet above the ground on stilts, traditionally the “Polichinelles” emerge.  As the other divertissements represent countries, in this version the characters will be Polish-inelles dressed in costumes from the Pszczyna area of the Śląsk region and will initiate traditional folk steps within the dance. (If the potential of seeing me fall on little children is not worth the price of admission, I don’t know what is!) Three performances will take place at the historic 2,303-seat Powers Auditorium on December 5 (student performance) and December 6 (2:00 & 7:00 pm). For more information or to reserve a ticket call  330-744-0264.

Polish Happy Hour celebrates the Christmas Season and Ken Shirilla’s retirement
It all started with a guy wanting to take a Polish language class to see how much of his college Russian he remembered (and maybe hang out with a certain girl). Looking back, it really was the spark that reignited a Slavic passion.  That passion led to Ken Shirilla taking the helm at Polish Happy Hour and to many other activities including being tapped to lead us in Simply Slavic. Anyone who follows his adventures on Facebook knows that Ken is a recognized face at Croatian, Slovak, Serbian, Rusyn and Polish events from Pittsburgh to Cleveland. This involvement has led to new opportunities to assist recent immigrants and regional communities—a time consuming task. In addition, it has led Ken to make a choice to experience our Slavic homelands firsthand. He will be living in Krakow for three months starting this in Spring 2015. Making sure his dream becomes a reality, some involvements have to fall by the wayside. Shirilla will be hosting his last Polish Happy Hour as chairman this month (volunteers & suggested replacements welcome!) Of course, he is making it a festive one! We will be joined by Troy Gawlak on concertina so we can sing all of your favorite kolędy ! Mark your calendars now Polish Happy Hour Youngstown on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 5:30- 9 PM at Christopher’s Downtown in the basement of City Centre One/ the PNC Bank Building on East Federal Street. Parking is on street and surrounding lots. For more info, call 330-333-9724.

Polska Kuchnia helps you prepare for the holidays
Considered the most important night of the year in Poland, Wigilia brings back memories of family togetherness, the spirit of the holidays and numerous courses of food. All the dishes are meatless and should be made from foods that come from the four corners of the earth: forest, sea, field, and orchard. Polish cooks over the centuries had to be very resourceful, working within these limitations, and it is a tribute to their creativity that they came up with such a rich variety of recipes. These meals were lovingly prepared by Mama, Ciocia or Babcia…so many of us weren’t there to learn how it was done. Adding to that, who has time to devote days to this project? So instead of giving up the tradition, let’s do it together! Chef Tad has brought together some of the community’s most talented to share their recipes so you can Make & Take Wigilia staples: mushroom soup, beet soup, compote, honey cake, honey vodka, noodles, pierogi and kolache.  Just bring an apron and plenty of take-out containers, bags and tin foil. All other supplies will be provided.  Class: Saturday, December 13, 2014, 12 PM  Cost: TBD  To register, go online to the website or call 330-333-9724.

Sękacz cake sale underway
Sękacz (seng-kach) cake is a popular event cake from eastern Poland that is incredible in taste and shape. Its thick, rich batter contains 40 or 50 eggs and it is baked by pouring ladles full of batter onto a rotary spit in open oven or over a very hot wood-burning fire.  As the batter bakes, it forms what look like branches. It is rotated over and over again for 10 hours. When it’s done, you stand it up vertically so that all the “branches” stick out and slice it horizontally to see the “tree rings.” In the old days, sękacz was only baked for holidays and weddings because of the time and expense to make. Get your own tasty cake! We bring it in from one of only a handful of such bakeries in the US. For more info, call 330-333-9724.

Polish Arts Club invites you to Wigilia 2014
Wigilia (vee-GEEL-yah), which literally means "Vigil" or "waiting" for the birth of Baby Jesus, is the Polish Arts Club's annual celebration and recreation of what Poles around the world gather to do each Christmas Eve night. We hope you can join us again this year to enjoy one of our most treasured Polish traditions. The annual event will take place on Sunday, December 7, 2014 at The Brier Hill Cultural Center (formerly St. Casimir’s Church) 145 Jefferson Street in Youngstown. The event starts at 4 PM Social hour 5 PM Sharing of opłatek followed by a traditional Wigilia Dinner.  Entertainment includes singing of kolędy, a 50/50 raffle and additional raffle.  Security will be on site all day.  Paid Reservations are due by December 1.  For more information, please contact Alice Morrow at 330-792-2769 or email at ajmd48@aol.com.  Celebrate the holiday season with this very special annual event! 

News from US Polonia  New York, NY
Honored with the official Welcome Back Pierógi
Rudy's bakery in Parma is celebrating the return of Lebron James by creating a pierogi in his honor. The Northeast Ohio favorite is filled with chicken, broccoli and cheddar cheeses, rumored to be LeBron's favorite meal. At this writing there was no word on whether James had yet to taste the creation but the bakery was hoping to send a batch to him. If you had pierogi made in your honor what flavor would they be? Let us know

News from Poland By Mark Biernat
Shared in honor of our own Ken Shirilla….
Why I Moved to Poland from the US
“My grandparents came from Poland many years ago. I have always had an interest in Poland and Polish history from afar. After taking several trips to Poland I decided to study the Polish language in Kraków for a few months. I met the girl who was to be my future wife. It was my destiny. However we would not have stayed if I did not love Polska. … I have my apartment set up like I did when I lived in the USA. It is large and furnished with Ikea, high-speed Internet.  No standard of living difference…. Poland has mountains and the sea as well as lakes and ancient forests all very beautiful…Basically you have a USA lifestyle that is more interesting, mentally stimulating, 1/2 to 1/3 the price more peaceful, no guns and few violent crimes, free education to the University level and health care... “ Read more of this piece or the stories in the most recent edition of Polish Media Watch.

Calendar Highlights
Wednesday, Nov. 26 7 PM 50th Anniversary Thanksgiving Eve Polka Hop, Chicago, IL...Tuesday, Dec. 2 10 AM Decorating Christmas Tree at Fellows Riverside Gardens... Wednesday, Dec. 3 6 PM Polish Historia LECTURE #6: Poland Today: From Solidarity to Democracy to leading the European Union... Friday, Dec. 5 Youngstown Holiday Parade-Slavic Contingent... Saturday, Dec. 6 Tree Lighting, Peterson Park Poland Village... Sunday, Dec. 7 4 PM - 8 PM Polish Arts Club hosts Wigilia…WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 5:30- 9 PM Polish Happy Hour , Christopher’s Downtown... Saturday, Dec. 13 12 PM Polska Kuchnia hosts Wigilia Prep class... Jan. 11, 2015 Kosciuszko Foundation Summer Teaching in Poland applications due... Kulig... Saturday, Feb. 14 Love-themed Ostatki...

Do Zobaczenia!
Aundréa and Your PolishYoungstown Team


Video of the Month

Polish Media Watch

Polish Words of the Month
November Listopad
Autumn jesień
Pumpkin dynia
Leaves are falling puścić liście
Thanksgiving DzieńDziękczynienia
Thankful wdzięczny
I am thankful for Jestem wdzięczny za ....
Turkey indyk
Parade parada