Much fun, few leftovers at annual Polish Picnic

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PHOTO GALLERY | Polish Picnic 2017

PITTSFIELD — Polish Picnic 2017 kept with tradition on Sunday afternoon nearly selling out of Polish food well before the six-hour event's end.

In the first three hours of the community gathering, volunteers dished out nearly all 2,420 golumbkis, 2,800 cheese pierogis and 2,300 cabbage pierogis, with the kielbasa and kapusta the last to go.

The most Polish food prepared since the picnic moved to St. Joseph's Church barely lasted until the halfway-point, according to organizers.

"I can't remember the last time we had [Polish food] until the end," said Deb Mathes heading up the kitchen team.

Mathes noted all the food is made from scratch, another reason people couldn't wait for the community gathering's noontime start.

"Once our church bells rang, we already had many people lined up," noted St. Joseph's pastor, Monsignor Michael Shershanovich.

The Polish cuisine has always been the draw for an ethnic gathering that began nearly 60 years ago at the former Church of the Holy Family near Wahconah Park. With the Polish community church closed by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in 2008, the popular picnic relocated to the front lawn at St. Joseph, made larger this year by the demolition last fall of the aging, unused convent.

This allowed the food, beverage and activities tents to be spread out, giving the estimated 3,000 men, women and children more elbow room.

As picnicgoers 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 musical entertainment for 10 years.

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

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

Eddie Arasimowicz headed up the American Kitchen where business picked up as the supply of piergis and golumbkis dwindled by mid-afternoon.

"There is such a demand for the Polish food, we do get carry over business [from the Polish tent]," he said.

Arasimowicz's first cousin and event co-chair, John Arasimowicz says the picnic's ultimate success — besides the food and warm, sunny weather — begins with the volunteers.

"This is such a communitywide event that everyone helps out; it's a real family affair," he said.

Reach staff writer Dick Lindsay at 413-496-6233


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