HARTFORD - It may not be December quite yet, but that does not mean it is too early to start celebrating the Christmas season.
The Polish National Home is hosting the 37th annual Szopka Festival and Competition sponsored by the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford on Sunday, Nov. 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A variety of vendors will be selling items including Polish amber and stoneware pottery, jewelry, Christmas cards and ornaments, honey, books and handmade crafts. People will also have the opportunity to take photos with Swiety Mikolaj (St. Nicholas)
The Country Kitchen will return, offering potato and cheese or sauerkraut pierogis, babki, kielbasa, oplatki and other Polish dishes for sale. Paczki and coffee will also be available for those with a sweet tooth.
The szopka originated in Krakow, Poland, and represents a model of the manger or stable where the Christ child was born. The Polish local peasantry created the szopka to provide the Christ child with an example of a more beautiful birthplace.
Polish artist and iconographer Marek Czarnecki is currently instructing students in the art of creating a szopka for the competition, which is open to both children and adults. Entries will be judged and cash prizes awarded for first, second and third place as well as an honorable mention.
There will also be a children’s szopka coloring page competition. More information about the competitions can be found at polishculturalclub.org/szopka.html
A Polish Buffet will be available for purchase at the Polish National Home dining room from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are suggested for parties of eight or more.
To make a reservation, call 860-247-1784
Admission to the Szopka Festival is free and it is open to the public. Parking is available and the site is handicapped accessible. The Polish National Home is at 60 Charter Oak Ave. in Hartford.
The proceeds from the event will benefit the Jennie Marconi-Javorski Scholarship Fund of the Polish Cultural Club. The Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford is an affiliate of the national American Council for Polish Culture.
For more information, visit polishculturalclub.org or contact the Polish Cultural Club at 860-659-0356.