The swirling colors of Eastern European folk dancers and savory scent of rich ethnic foods will again entice crowds to the 12th annual Polish Festival on Sept. 24-25 on the Polish Library Hall and St. Stanislaus Church grounds at 3900 N. Interstate Ave. Admission is free. More than 10,000 people attended last year's celebration recognizing Oregon's 110-year-old Polish neighborhood. Many of the descendants of the Polish immigrants in the 1880s still live in the Overlook district of North Portland. The ethnic celebration is the largest Polish festival in the Western United States, says coordinator Marek Stepien who has studied major Polish festivals in the American Midwest and Canada. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m., Sunday, with continuous stage entertainment including the Sobotka adult and children's folk dancers and "polka contest" both on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday evening will conclude also with a "Let's Gdansk" street dance on closed-off North Failing Street between Interstate and Montana Avenues. This year's festival foods will include rich, homemade, potato/cheese filled pierogis, potato pancakes and of course, delectable kielbasa sausages.
Oregon's first Polish families were predominately from the Carpathian Mountains of southern Poland and eastern Poland near present-day Belarus. The families created a Polish National Alliance chapter in 1892 and built the historic St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church in 1907 and Polish Library Hall in 1911. Both landmarks display Romanesque architecture common in southern Poland, and have been officially recognized as state historic sites. The parish's namesake is St. Stanislaus Szczepanowski, martyr of the early church. He was archbishop of Krakow in the 11th Century. One of his successors as archbishop of Krakow, was Archbishop Karol Wojtyla, who would become Pope John Paul II in 1978.
To get to the festival site, take I-5 and then the Swan Island exit (exit 303), and turn south on Interstate Avenue and proceed six blocks to the festival grounds. Free parking is available at the adjacent Kaiser Permanente complex lots and garages. Visitors can also take the Light Rail Yellow Line to the Overlook Station. Easy transfers from the Westside and Eastside MAX are available at the Rose Garden station.
For more information visit www.portlandpolonia.org/festival
Added by vj on August 17, 2005