Pulaski Day Parade and Polish-American Arts Festival


A view from the parade itself.

A view from the parade itself.

It’s no secret that Buffalo is home to one of the biggest Polish-American communities in the United States. If you haven’t heard about Dyngus Day by now then I think you need to read this site more than anyone! I’m here to talk to you about the other Polish-American holiday that is celebrated in Western New York: Pulaski Day.

Pulaski Day is designated to honor General Casimir Pulaski, a Polish nobleman that came here to fight in the American Revolution and actually saved the life of George Washington during a battle.
The celebration here in Cheektowaga consists of the Pulaski Day Parade on Harlem Road and the Polish-American Arts Festival at the neighboring Cheektowaga Town Park.
Great pierogi and kielbasa from Polish Villa II.

Great pierogi and kielbasa from Polish Villa II.

I had the chance to walk in the parade this year for the first time ever and had a great time throwing candy out to the crowd! I learned pretty quickly that there’s a difference between throwing candy TO people and throwing candy AT people. Apparently, Jolly Ranchers hurt.  Whoops.

Just kidding guys.
So after the parade I got the chance to go to the festival. The first thing I did was check out the tent with all the non-food things you can buy. There were Polish shirts, trinkets, and all kinds of memorabilia. They even have a vendor that comes every year who sells rare polka CDs. A few years back, I bought a CD of an old-time polka artist for my grandfather that I literally couldn’t find anywhere else. He loved it.
After the merchandise tent, we high-tailed it to the beer and food tent. The first order of business of course was getting a beer. I’m a fan of most of the Polish beers you can find around here, so I had one–or maybe twelve. Don’t judge me!
With beer in hand, I wandered over to the food that was being served up by Polish Villa II and Nowak’s catering. I’ve had food from both places over the years, and their food is excellent!  I’ve had a lot of Polish food in my day too; I could sit toe-to-toe at a pierogi table with anybody. Bring it on Joey Chestnut! We had some kielbasa and some pierogi and then went to go check out the music being played at the stage.
For the little while that we were there, we heard traditional polka and a few standard songs like, my favorite, “In Heaven There Is No Beer.”
The conga line filled with people way cooler than me.

The conga line filled with people way cooler than me.

Then something awesome happened.

The band on stage, the Polish American String Band, started talking about their South American tour and how they learned to Conga while down there. Then they started playing again and the whole place turned into one giant conga line filled with people of all shapes and sizes.
Good times.
If you missed the Pulaski Parade or the Polish-American Arts Festival this year, don’t worry. There’s always next year. I’ll be there. Look for the guy with 17 pierogi on his plate.

2 Comments on “Pulaski Day Parade and Polish-American Arts Festival”

  1. buffalogrl25 July 31, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    Great article! As a proud Polish girl, I live a good opportunity to celebrate my heritage. I will have to check this out next year! 🙂

    • seaninbuffalo July 31, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! It’s definitely worth checking out, I go every year!

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