Polish Picnic offers traditional treats

Monday July 16, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- The golumbkis, perogis and kielbasa were plentiful Sunday afternoon at the annual St. Joseph Church Polish Picnic.

However, the gallons of kapusta prepared ahead of time didn't last long as hundreds of people consumed the cabbage dish within two hours -- a record for the six-hour ethnic event, according to several long-time volunteers.

Organizers say the kapusta quickly going kaput indicates the picnic's popularity has increased since it moved four years ago from Holy Family Church to the large front lawn of St. Joseph on North Street.

"Each year we get bigger crowds, with more food and more people helping to volunteer," said John Arasim owicz. "It has truly become a community-wide event."

Arasimowicz has co-chaired 23 of the nearly 50 summer gatherings that originated at Holy Family, a polish community church closed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in 2008.

Although the venue has changed, the traditions of the Polish picnic remain the same, say regular attendees of the social affair.

Cheryl Furtek said the food remains the big draw.

"I like the Polish platter because you get a little taste of everything," said the 51-year-old former lifetime parishioner at Holy Family.

Organizers said the more visible and larger location of St. Joseph continually attracts new people to the Polish Picnic.

Haley Bowers' inaugural visit included her first taste of a cheese perogi.

"It was pretty good," said the Lee teenager. "It was better than I thought it would be."

As picnic-goers polished off the Polish delicacies, they listened and danced to The Rymanowski Brothers. The Polish band from the Albany, N.Y. area has enjoyed being the music entertainment for the fifth straight year.

"There is such a great show of support her from the parish and community," said Gerry Rymanowski. "We provide happy music for happy people."

While Polish food and music are the picnic's mainstay, it has evolved into a multi-ethnic event.

The menu includes Amer ican staples such as hamburgers and hot dogs, along with fried dough, a popular Italian treat during the summer.

Arasimowicz also said the crowd has become more diverse in recent years.

"I met people today who were visiting from California and Australia," he said. "Thanks to all [80] volunteers, it's been another successful picnic."

To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233.


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