NEW BRITAIN - Organizers said they are on track to entertain thousands with polka bands and Polish food when the 37th annual Dozynki opens Saturday.
“It’s a wonderful time, it’s a wonderful event to keep the Polish traditions alive in New Britain,” said Dozynki co-chairman Rich Pokorski.
The two-day festival that celebrates the harvest opens at 10 a.m. at Falcon Field. An outdoor Mass attended by hundreds will begin at 11 a.m. The altar will be filled with the fruits of the harvest, including wheat and other crops, to signify giving thanks for nature’s bounty.
Then the festival gets into full swing with Polish-themed vendors, Polish entertainment and, of course, fresh Polish food, Pokorski said. The vendors attending are kept as “pure” as possible to the intent of the harvest festival, he said.
Pokorski is still accepting applications for vendors and could always use more volunteers and donations to of-set the cost of the event and help the festival committee with providing scholarships to six area students.
Much of the revenue from the event comes from the parking. But at $5 per car and no admission fee, the cost is quite reasonable, he said.
Highlights of the weekend will include The Joe Rodgers Trio providing traditional polka music at 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Vademecum Band, which features contemporary Polish music appears at 5 p.m. that day.
The festival reopens at 12 p.m. on Sunday. The Rich Bobinski Orchestra will hit the stage from 1 to 5 p.m. with traditional polka music and The Rytm Band, playing contemporary Polish music, will perform at 5 p.m. Each day the festival closes at 10 p.m.
This year Dozynki will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Polonia Paderewski Choir, which will also perform, and the 110th anniversary of the Polish Falcons Nest Post 88 in New Britain.
Several area groups will also perform folk dancing and provide other entertainment.
The festival has been sponsored by the Polish American Council for 37 years as a way of keeping Polish traditions alive in New Britain. The festival dates back at least 1,000 years in Poland, according to Roman Nowak, the president of the Polish American Council, who is a co-chairman of this year’s Dozynki. The festival is held in cities with large Polish populations throughout the United States.
Applications for vendors are still being accepted. Those interested in applying or in volunteering can call Pokorski at 860-491-4910.