NEW BRITAIN - The second planning meeting forf the 2019 Little Poland Festival was held on March 13 to update members of the community on this year’s festival and to take suggestions..
Darek Barcikowski, honorary Polish consul in New Britain, ran the discussion. This year, the theme of the festival is the 125th anniversary of Sacred Heart Parish on Broad Street. Msgr. Daniel J. Plocharczyk will be recognized and will receive a plaque at the opening ceremonyl.
The meeting, which was open to the public, attracted about 30 participants, including five members of the festival committee. Barcikowski said some of the participants will serve as vendors and entertainers during the festival.
Part of the meeting’s goal was to have people share ideas or concerns.. According to Barcikowski, the biggest change anticipated is weather. In previous years, the festival has taken place in late April, but this year,, for the first time,, the festival will take place on June 2.
“This being an outdoor festival, I just think that having it in sort of a warmer month will really add to the attraction,” Barcikowski said. “It’s just much more fun to have that kielbasa sandwich, Polish beer or dance to the music on the stage when it’s 80 degrees outside versus 50 degrees outside. That is the biggest change we are anticipating and I think if the weather cooperates and we get a nice, sunny day, I think it will also contribute to a record turnout this year.”
The Little Poland Festival on Broad Street is held at the same time as a carnival at the Pulaski Club on Grove Street. The carnival, however, runs through the weekend - Friday through Sunday, while the festival is just one day..
The festival offers vendor, sponsorship and volunteering opportunities.
The vendor spots are filling pretty quickly,” Barcikowski said. “We only have about 30 available. If someone is thinking of becoming a vendor, then now is the time to reserve that spot. We are always looking for sponsors and we have tremendous opportunities for exposure given the number of participants in the festival. The festival is quite expensive to put on and vendor fees do not cover all of the cost. We do everything we can to make sure that sponsors get recognition and exposure before and during the festival.”
Barcikowski said he is expecting food offerings to be more diverse, based on what he has seen on incoming vendor applications.
“We have somebody doing Romanian food and we have a pierogi company coming from Beverly, Massachusetts,” Barcikowski said. “We have an exciting entertainment lineup. We are going to have two big stages and a lot of performances. We have a band by the name of Green Secret from New York. They are a Polish band and they are going to be our headlining band for the festival.”
The festival will also include traditional folk dancers and a paczki-eating contest.
“One thing that we are doing this year that is different is we are going to have an information booth and we are going to have volunteers in specially marked t-shirts just sort of out and about, walking around in the festival’s space,” Barcikowski said. “They will be able to provide information on facilities, restrooms, the shuttle, parking, vendors and food offerings and the schedule for the entertainment lineup. They will just be able to answer any questions that folks have. I think in the past there wasn’t really a central place for folks to get information on the festival or anything that was happening during the day. We will have volunteers walking around providing answers to any questions that festival participants may have.”
Barcikowski’s goal is to have enough volunteers for two shifts to serve as a resource and keep an eye on things. Volunteers will be provided with T-shirts and there will be a training session for them before the festival.
“We are going to feed them and we are going to feed them very well throughout the festival,” Barcikowski said.
The festival will have a shuttle that running from the parking garage in downtown New Britain to Broad St. all day.
The festival requires a license resolution from the city allowing organizers to hold the festival each year, which is a formality. The resolution was passed at last week’s Common Council meeting.
For volunteer, vendor or sponsorship information, organizers can be contacted at email@example.com or 860-223-9100. For more information on the festival, visit littlepolandfest.com.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.