Portland Polonia

The 25th Annual Polish Festival “Portland Polonia” was held Sept. 22 and 23 next to the historic Polish Library and St. Stanislaus Church in north Portland. The festival featured several musician and dance groups, arts and crafts and Polish cuisine and pastries.

Upon entry to the festival were stalls selling Polish merchandise, such as wycinanki, an art medium in which colorful paper designs are layered on top of each other to create the final product, and kasetka, a type of wooden box inlaid with various designs. The Polish Pottery Place sold various pottery and kitchen items adorned with distinctive blue-green designs.

One stand in particular bared no name, but showcased an array of Polish items including crystal, kasetka boxes, wycinanki, pisanki Easter eggs and traditional dolls. Janina and Karl Juszczak were the hosts of this booth, two of the original founders of the Polish festival.

Jedliniok, a folk ensemble from Wroclaw, Poland, performed the traditional Polish dances of Mazur, Krakowiak, Kujawiak, Oberek and Polonez. Local multicultural group Süse Füse, the Sobotka dance group from the Portland Polish School and members of the community also performed.

Portland-based duet Duo Draka performed on the violin and accordion. The Polish couple, Olimpia Trysty and Pawel Sojka, drew inspiration from both Polish and Balkan cultures to create their folk and classical compositions. Among other performers were Yaazda, a Polish-American band and The Oregon Polka Beats.

The festival also featured traditional Polish cuisine, including pierogi, a type of dumpling; golabki, stuffed cabbage rolls; placki ziemnaczane, potato pancakes; and kielbasa. The Polish Bakery also offered an array of sweets, such as the poppy seed roll makowiec, plum cake known as ciasto z‏‏ śliwkami, and the more well-known, jelly-filled paczki. A food stall selling Croatian food was also in attendance selling cevapi, a dish including grilled sausages, fresh onions and the red pepper spread ajvar inside a type of flatbread.

This year’s festival was dedicated to Piotr Pomykala, a member of the Polish community who assisted the Polish Festival during the previous 24 years. Though he was born in the Polish countryside, he relocated to Portland with his family in 1993.