|It is said that there is magic in the air on St. John’s Eve and the more than 125 guests who attended last week’s Sobotka: Polish Happy Hour at the Gardens just might agree. The lovely Café Terrace at Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek Park was alive with chatter, both in English and Polish. “Mother Nature” also helped with one of the most beautiful nights of the season, to insure the evening was perfect! Many guests enjoyed making wreaths decorated with candles and flowers as well as the the wonderful Polish foods prepared by Chef George Weino. Honkie Rocky and the Jammers provided live music, and many danced to the polka tunes. As dusk settled on the crowd, PHH Chairman Tom Kusiowski II, headed down to Lake Glacier with Ray Novotny of Mill Creek Park to float the wreaths on the water. Guests ran to the railings of the terrace to watch the flickering candles on the wreaths glide across the water. A beautiful sight it was! Then song sheets were passed out and groups of singers filled the air with Polish melodies. A special “thank you” to Arlene Lanz, Linda Kostka and Anita Wesler of Mill Creek MetroParks for all their help in making the evening happen. A special nod goes out to Polish Youngstown’s Tom Kusiowski II, Ken Giba and Ken Shirilla for another great job. You’re the Best! |
After that fun, late night, a gang of us headed north to Progressive Field for the Polish Night at the Indians where the Tribe took on the Washington Nationals. Our group proudly held our Polish Youngstown banner and small Polish flags as we marched in for the pre-game festivities. Rocko Naples, our own concertina musician, played Polish tunes to keep us in step! The game was great. The weather was perfect. The stadium food was so, so good. And the best part, the Indians won! We excitedly left the stadium for dinner and fireworks watching at Sokolowski’s University Inn. Another wonderful night of Polish fun! If you didn’t make it to the Indians game, remember that our July Polish Happy Hour at the Scrapper’s will be at Eastwood Field in Niles on Thursday, July 8th. Learn more about it here. Please join us for a night of Polish fun, great food, drinks and Polish music, and maybe even a surprise of two!
It is nonstop fun so far for Aundrea, her daughter D’Ella and the rest of the group who fly off to our Trip to Poland this week. A crowded flight full of Poles returning home with their children to Babcia made them feel like one of the family. Their first night in town was highlighted with a Polish food buffet, mile high beers and a Gorale band performance. They are going to try to keep us updated on all they see and do at the Poland trip section of our website, Learn the latest here.
Before they arrived, Warsaw already was celebrating as native son thousands of Poles filled a vast sunbathed square in Warsaw for the beatification of Jerzy Popieluszko, a charismatic priest tortured and killed in 1984 by communist Poland's secret police for supporting Lech Walesa's Solidarity freedom movement. An outspoken priest, he is remembered as one of the historic figures in the predominantly Catholic nation's struggle against communism. His "Masses for the Homeland" during a time of harsh repression under martial law in the 1980s drew crowds as he spoke of the value of freedom. On Oct. 19, 1984, three secret police officers kidnapped the 37-year-old priest and his driver. The priest was beaten, bound, gagged and stuffed in the trunk of an unmarked police car. He escaped when they pulled in at a secluded parking lot, but was captured again, beaten and stuffed in a sack weighed down with stones and thrown into the Vistula River. His driver managed to escape and tell about the priest's abduction. body was found two weeks later. Beatification procedures opened in 1997. Last December, Pope Benedict declared Popieluszko a martyr, opening the road to his beatification. Beatification is a step toward possible sainthood, which, if sought in an official procedure, should be backed up by proven cases of miracles attributed to the candidate for sainthood. Learn more about Popieluszko here.
The other big news in Poland in the past week was that Russia had released the transcript of flight recorders from the plane crash that killed the Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others. It includes multiple warnings from an on-board system for the plane to regain altitude just before the crash. The 41-page transcript covers roughly 40 minutes of conversation. It was initially only available in Polish and Russian, but The Krakow Post published unedited excerpts of their own English translation of the document. Read them here.
We previously reported on the floods plaguing Poland and it seems they are not out of danger yet. As meteorologists warn of more rain, thousands of firefighters and soldiers are strengthening dikes that are crumbling in a second wave of massive flooding in southern Poland following weeks of torrential rains. Labeling it “Poland’s Katrina”, critics are saying that infrastructure, bureaucracy and legal hurdles ensure that Polish cities will flood again. Read more about it here.
And since we are all about artful events, we couldn’t resist sharing the news about this one: A musical based on the life of John Paul II just opened in Rome this week featuring big dance numbers as it covers key events in his life. Creators admit it is an unusual concept, but hope through music and dance they can tell “the story of this great man.” Called “Non Abbiate Paura” (Italian for Don’t Be Scared), play involves a cast of 30 singers, dancers and actors. Learn more here.
Your PolishYoungstown Team