"An experience of a lifetime"… "Transformative"… "A home run"
These are some of the descriptions that we have heard you using to describing the events this weekend with the Mazowsze Polish Folk Song and Dance Ensemble. The workshop attracted more than 100 children, young people and adult singers and dancers from throughout the eastern United States. Special thanks go out to choreographer and Mazowsze historian Staś Kmieć who not only set the stage with his historical perspective, but lead a Q&A with legendary choreographer Witold Zapała and exceled as a coordinator with the Polish staff. Kudos for the well-attended Polish Arts Club of Youngstown Wigilia Dinner at The Youngstown Club go to Chair Angela Messenger. Her willingness to combine the performance event with the traditional dinner brought a huge response and a great deal for her to manage. It was a fitting way to conclude the PAC’s 75th Anniversary year. On Monday, a number of us braved the snow to see the entire troupe perform at the State Theatre. Thanks to the Polish American Congress, Union of Poles and Cleveland Society of Poles for a fun Cast Party afterward. Photos and videos of the weekend’s events are accessible from here.
Don’t forget to check out our Polish choinka at the Davis Center at Fellows Riverside Garden as part of the Community Christmas Tree Project. It looks rather nice for our first year to participate. All the trees will be in their splendor at their Gardens by Candlelight event on Sunday, Dec. 12th. If you go to see our results, look for our tree on the lower level. Learn more about how Poles decorate their trees here.
A sincere dziękuję to those of you who donated items or money to our Adopt a Polish Soldier program. The Christmas boxes to the Polish soldiers serving with NATO in Afghanistan were mailed out with everything needed for a Wigilia dinner, including opłatki, packets of mushroom soup and beet soup, canned herring and carp fillet, jars of horseradish, pickled mushrooms and sauerkraut and Polish candies and cookies. Beautiful personalized cards in Polish were also sent to each soldier. Larry Kozlowski, our favorite Polish crafts expert, even threw in a miniature Christmas tree with a tiny Polish straw ornaments and lights! In total four large boxes were sent out that also included many America items like boxes of macaroni and cheese, cookies, candy and crackers. We even threw in Polish Happy Hour Youngstown t-shirts for fun. Special thanks go out to the Polish American Congress-Ohio Division, Union of Poles, S&D, Seven Roses and Krakow delis for their generous help filling the boxes. This outpouring from our Polish community will certainly make for a wonderful Christmas for these brave soldiers.
Speaking of opłatek, take time out of your busy December schedule and plan to join us TONIGHT for a friendly Polish Happy Hour event at the family owned Rips Café on Dec. 9th from 5:30-9 PM. Our cultural focus will be Old Polish Christmas traditions. The most popular of which is that when the first star appears in the sky, the head of the household starts the sharing of the opłatek wafer. I will never forget last year’s PHH when random bar attendees were invited to participate and excitedly joined in our ceremony. We will discuss this and others that are easily adaptable to today’s families. Wafers will be available for purchase and copies of the ceremonies will be available to take home to use with your families on Christmas Eve. It may be cold, but the Spicy Santa Shot can keep you warm.
And don’t forget, the Krakowiaki become kolendnicy next week and invite you to join them for a round of Christmas caroling on Dec. 17th at The Greenbrier senior citizen facilities on South Avenue and at Southern Park Mall. Afterward they will be celebrating the season at Jillian’s in the mall.
Make pierogi pinching part of your holiday preparations. There are pierogi making sessions at St. Stan’s on Wednesday and Thursday mornings from 8-Noon as well as Wednesday evenings from 5:30-8 PM. If you wish to order pierogi for the holidays, Friday Dec 10th is the last day to do so. There will be a limit of 5 dozen or less of potato pierogi, and a limit of 2 dozen for kraut of cheese pierogi. No orders will be taken after the 10th!
New on the web: Polonia Music was launched this month to provide an online collection of the most cherished Polish songs enjoyed by people of Polish heritage. Guitarist Bob Johnson, the creator, said he came to the idea while trying to figure out how to play the koledy from his childhood in Buffalo. It is hoped that the collection will serve as a resource for anyone interested in traditional Polish music, Poland, and Polonia. Whenever possible, video, audio, links, lyrics and chords are provided to enhance your visit. Check it out here.
Your PolishYoungstown Team