Monday, April 24, 2017

Dzień Dobry: Madison's Polish Heritage Club Spring Festival

A little background about my lineage. While I know I have a wee bit of Irish in me along with German and maybe one or two other things (I really don't know that much about my ancestry), I know without a single doubt in my mind I'm VERY Polish.

When I say I'm very Polish, I mean my paternal grandparents, lovingly referred to as my Babcia (grandmother in Polish) and Dziadzia (Americanized Polish pronunciation for grandfather) actually migrated from Poland in the 1950's. My father and both Ciocias (aunts in Polish) grew up in a Polish speaking household and thus, my sister and I grew up with a lot of the customs and learning a little bit of the language.

Thanks to my good friend Alisa of, I was able to reconnect with my Polish girl roots and attend Madison's Polish Heritage Club's Polish Spring Festival earlier this month!

Held on Palm Sunday (April 9th) at the Immaculate Heart of Mary School, this festival included quite a bit revolving around Poland, it's food, wares, and entertainment. I first heard of this festival when Alisa and our mutual friend Christopher attended the International Festival a month prior in Madison where the Polish Heritage Club had a booth set up; I sadly couldn't make it to that due to health issues but that day they kindly came back with kielbasa for me and the information for the Spring Festival.

I think now that I'm growing older and nearing my 30's my lineage and background is starting to become more and more important to me. Growing up with essentially unlimited access to the information first hand (my grandparents, parents, and aunts), you take for granted what you're being taught; you're young and it's just a regular part of your everyday routine. Now with both grandparents gone and with family inevitably continuing to age, I find myself increasingly curious about where I come from.

The cafeteria where the event was being held was packed. Not only by eager people there for the culture and food but by the most beautiful Polish wares. They had many a table for Polish stoneware, amber jewelry, a book table strictly for books about Poland and books from Polish authors, crafting tables for kids painting Pisanki (decorative Polish eggs), and so much more!

I ended up splurging and buying myself a beautiful handmade bookmark displaying a genuine Polish postage stamp on it which is currently holding my place in a book I'm reading.

While all the Polish wares available were gorgeous and the history behind them fascinating, I'm sure you guessed where my attention was immediately drawn (aside from the food of course); Amber.

Being a long (long) time jewelry lover and Polish, I have a few amber pieces in my collection and am always drawn to amber when I see it. I was quite impressed by the wide variety the Spring Polish fest had to offer. Not only that but there was a lot of information and background on Baltic amber, where it came from, and even some mythology associated with the substance.

I had not known about the heartbreaking legend of Jurata, Queen of the Baltic Sea (pictured above) until I was able to read about it here and it was truly fascinating. It makes me love amber even more!

Plus I fell madly in love with that amber ring (pictured below), but can you really blame me? It's magnificent!

I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that I went just to reconnect with my roots. There was a big incentive to going to this festival for me...

The food.

Who knows, maybe it IS a subconscious need to find out more about Poland and all things Polish but I've been seriously craving Polish everything the past few months and when I refer to these cravings I'm referring to authentic Polish cuisine.

I was not disappointed either! Bigos (also known as Hunter's Stew), kielbasa, and pierogies oh my! Of course you can't forget all the delectable, sweet treats available including to-die-for raspberry cheesecake, chrusciki (also known as Polish angel wings), and my personal favorite, paczki. We shall say the long line for the food was 100% justifiable.

While sitting down to our much anticipated Polish lunch of 3 large cheese-filled pierogies, a large section of sliced kielbasa, some delicious sauerkraut, and a slice of rye bread with butter, we were serenaded by Polska music.

Everybody polka!

A post shared by Kayla Potega (@adaptablekay) on

All in all my friend Alisa and I had such a wonderful time with the delicious food, conversing with like minded people, and browsing the many table filled with beautiful Polish items. I even got to dust off a little of my Polish language skills after not being able to use them for several years! 

A big thank you to the Madison Polish Heritage Club for putting on such a beautiful festival that brought me a little bit closer to my Polish roots. Truth be told, I also felt a little bit closer to my grandparents who, as I stated above, both sadly passed away 10+ years ago.

While we initially made the trip up to Madison specifically for the Spring Polish festival, Alisa and I decided to make a day of it and explore. Make sure to come back and read about our visit to Madison's Cat Cafe Mad!

1 comment:

Terra Heck said...

It's great that you were able to connect with your roots by attending the festival. I'd honestly like to know more about my ethnicity. I don't know much. And, unfortunately, my parents and grandparents have passed away. I have a supervisor who is of Polish descent (last name Krzystofczyk) who has introduced me to some of the Polish foods throughout the years.