NEW BRITAIN - Holy Cross Church opened its 64th annual bazaar and carnival on Thursday.
Minutes before the official kickoff, people were already walking in, the line for the food started to grow, and musicians were getting ready to get everyone dancing.
The Holy Cross Bazaar and Carnival is a traditional event in the city’s Polish community, offering carnival rides, games, food, music and raffles.
This year, the prize in the big raffle is a new 2018 BMW X1 sDrive28i. Tickets cost $200 and only 350 are available.
The winner will be drawn on Sunday at a reception that will offer food, dessert, soda and wine free of charge for those holding raffle tickets. The reception starts at 4 p.m. and the drawing will be at 5 p.m. Tickets will be sold until the drawing.
Paul Korzynski, of New Hartford, is one of the event organizers and has been a member of Holy Cross Church all his life.
Korzynski said he is excited about this year’s raffle because, in previous years, the prize had been a sedan, but this year, the winner will get SUV. Korzynski said tickets that are not sold will not be drawn, which gives ticket holders a better chance to win.
The second raffle is a cash raffle that costs $5 a ticket. There will be five prizes. The top prize is $2,500, second prize $1,000, third prize $500, fourth prize $250, and fifth prize $100.
“Last year we did really great with the cash raffle and this year we are hoping to do even better now that the word is out.” Korzynski said.
On Thursday, the band that played at the carnival was the same one that accompanies the church’s choir. The same band will play tonight, while on Saturday, the Janosiki Band will perform.
“They also do a great job, They keep people jumping,” Korzynski said.
Most of the food items sold at the carnival are authentic Polish dishes such as pierogi, potato pancakes and golabki. In addition, fried dough, French fries, ice cream, cotton candy, candy apples and caramel corn are available.
Nate Weatherbee, 9, of Rocky Hill, said he enjoys attending every year. He added that his favorite part is the rides and the fun that comes with being at the event.
Nate came with his cousin, Emilia Polkowski, of New Britain. She said she has been attending the event for many years, and enjoys seeing children have a good time and eating traditional Polish food.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079.