The Twin Cities Polish Festival is about to bring music, dance, Polish food and a mighty burst of energy to the Mississippi riverfront. Polka contestants are primed, bakers are braving the heat, traditional musicians and artists are counting the days till the Twin Cities Polish Festival 2012, scheduled for Saturday, August 11 (10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.) and Sunday, August 12 (11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) All festivities are on Main Street on the banks of the Mississippi River and at sites in or near Riverplace, new home of the Polish American Cultural Institute of Minnesota.
As always, music is everywhere at the Polish Festival:
- Akordissimo, the classical accordion ensemble, is part of the larger, renowned Accordion Orchestra CHORD of Koszalin. In 2011 Akordissimo won First Place at the European Youth Festival in Belgium and was awarded the Grand Prix at the International Accordion Competition in Russia. This is Akordissimo’s first visit to America. The ensemble will perform on the Cultural stage both Saturday and Sunday.
- During the Festival young Minnesota talent and local professionals will perform the works of Chopin and other Polish composters at three Chopin Celebration Concerts. The concerts are sponsored b Wells Pianos and hosted by Kieran Wells. Performances will be held in the air-conditioned comfort of the Stone Arch Cinema at St. Anthony Main.
By tradition, planners of the Polish Festival introduce a new program each year. This summer’s treat – literally – is a Polish Baking Contest in which fine bakers will compete in three baking categories: Makowiec, a sweet bread rolled up, jelly-roll fashion, with a poppy seed filling, Kolazcki, delicate cookie-like pastries traditionally filled with fruit, poppy seed or sweet cheese fillings, and Babka, a sweet, rich leavened cake traditionally baked in a classic Babka or other fluted pan. The contest is open to all. Deadline: postmark by Tuesday, August 7; details online.
Throughout the Festival grounds dancers are showcasing traditional choreography. Heading the dance program at this year’s Polish festival are Dolina Polish Folk Dancers and Mosaica. The State Amateur Polka Dance Championship will also be performing during the Festival. The Polonia Polish Folk Dance Ensemble from Regina, Saskatchewan, dates back to the 1930’s when a social club was formed for couples who had recently immigrated to Canada from Poland. Dancing soon became an important way to preserve Polish cultural in the area. Today’s Polonia Polish Folk Dance Ensemble, officially organized in 1970, is comprised of 16 dancers performing under the leadership of director Tamara Scrimbit and assistant director Lisa Abrahamowicz.
The “Little Stars” Theatre Workshop, founded in Chicago in 2004, promotes the Polish language through theater. Originally begun to involve children who wanted to speak Polish, the Workshop later expanded to offer adult classes. The “Little Stars” have recorded audio and television plays that have been aired on Chicago area media.
Those whose tastes run to professional sports will have a chance to meet the Minnesota Stars FC. The Stars are looking to defend their 2011 NASL Championship.
Jim Krzewski, aka Spoon Man Jim Cruise, has performed for audiences and prominent politicians including former President Gerald R. Ford and Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow, says his show is “part goofball entertainer, part faith-filled spiritual guy.”
As in the past, Polish film lovers will have the chance to enjoy a showcase of Polish films at the Twin Cities Polish FilmFest, presented in partnership with The Film Society of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Seven days of award-winning films will be screened at the Stone Arch Cinema. Watch for the schedule of films to be shown during the Festival.
The Polish Festival is free and open to the public – from wherever and of whatever heritage!