Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.


10,000 Polaks at a Festival

If you know me personally or have been following my blog for a time, then you know that Mikaela and I are Polish and proud of it.  I have blogged about my adventures in pierogi making, shared with you my tribute to my German-born, Polish-married great-grandmother when she died last year, and Mikaela posted a video of our family going all out in a skit on Polish reformer Jan Laski.

But several weeks ago on a blustery Sunday afternoon, my family's reveling in our Polish heritage found a new outlet: a nearby Polish festival.  I had heard rumors of such a thing back in the spring, and have been inwardly dancing the polka ever since.  We entered a little Poland, filled with the Polish language, Polish costumes, very Polish-looking people (apparently 10,000 of them attend the festival over the weekend!), and, of course, Polish music!  The first thing to draw our ears was the luminous sound of Chopin wafting through the kielbasa-scented air.  We crept up to the stage where an interpretive ballet set to a Chopin piece was underway. 

Soon, however, the trickle of rain turned into a torrent that began to drench us. 

We ducked into the nearest shelter: the pastry building!  We quickly found that to be a delightfully good choice, and salivated over the Polish pastries the Polish grandmas were cutting. 
"My kids are Polish," Mama explained to the pastry lady behind the table.  She sized us up with one swift glance, then said knowingly in her lovely Polish accent, "Oh, but they were not born in Poland, right? They are like my kids, then."  We all immediately wished we had been born in Poland. 

The monsoon soon evaporated into a drizzle, and people shook off their collars, emerged from their hiding places, and chatter and music and food lines commenced as before.  By this time, we only had so much self-restraint left in reserve after smelling and seeing Polish food but not tasting it.  It was all we could do to withold ourselves from swiping a pierogi off of a complete stranger's plate.  In order to preclude such an event, we quickly voted to sweep the food tents for the best possible goodies. 
Clockwise from left: Delicious kielbasa, a dinner roll sitting on top of bigos, Polish hunter's stew consisting predominantly of sauerkraut, a pierogi ruskie, Polish dumpling stuffed with a mix of potatoes, onions, and farmer's cheese, a pierogi z kapusta, Polish dumpling with aa mix of sauerkraut and mushrooms, golabki, cabbage rolls with a mix of meat and rice, topped with a tomato sauce, and sour cream for topping.  Not shown are the potato pancakes, placki ziemniaczane, which were delicious and came with sour cream, ketchup, or applesauce for topping.  Once we had stuffed ourselves to our fullest capacity with these delicacies, we wandered back to the stage area. 

A polka contest was just beginning, commencing with the children. 

Who could possibly not smile while observing that little blondie's delight?  Or what about the woman with the blue headwrap in the background, blissfully clapping along with the fabulous polka music?  Our family wasn't completely clear on just what dancing the polka looked like, and we still weren't clear by the time the kid's competition was over, but at least all the kids had fun! 

Next began the adult competition.  The accordian player began pointing people out in the crowd and forcing them to come compete.  If they dared refuse, he would "bawk" with his loudest chicken imitation into the microphone until they had to give in! 

This adorable couple captured our hearts from the beginning!  Doesn't the man look like a Polish gentleman from the 19th century?  I was standing behind a group of Polish grandpas who were rooting vociferously for this couple as well, so much so that one of the judges had to announce, laughingly, that "This is not Polish Idol!"  However, when this rosy-cheeked couple was announced as the first place winner in the polka competition, one of the grandpas in front of me let out a huzzah and exclaimed, "I knew they would win!" 

Later on, we danced to some lively waltzes, making up our own steps as we went along.  Susanna and Mikaela enjoyed themselves! 

 My cousin Aimee joined us for the afternoon.  Don't you think she makes a convincing Polish lady?

Is that Jonah masquerading there?

After touring the vendors and investing in some Polish candy, the pastry building was calling our names once more.  Mama tried this delicious poppyseed cake. 

Aimee chose the Polish cheesecake which, while different from American cheesecake, was still tasty! 

Papa and I got the paczki, a traditional Polish doughnut with what we decided was a plum filling.  This homemade doughnut definitely ranks in the top five tastiest doughnuts I have ever had!   

With those sweet treats, our time at the Polish Festival came to a close.  The food was gone  On the way home, we chattered about the dances we had danced, the food we had tasted, and the sights we had seen.  It was a wonderfully rich, fun-filled afternoon! 

Last but not least for your viewing pleasure, here is a 25 second video of my sweet grandma demonstrating "This Little Piggy Went to Market" in Polish on Susanna's foot.  The end is guaranteed to make you smile--I know I grin every time I watch it! 

Do widzenia!  Good bye! 


  1. Ah!! Noah and I were *going* to go to that festival (we have some other friends who are Polish - I completely forgot that your family is too!), but we didn't end up making it. :( Sadness!
    Looks like you all had a wonderful time, though!
    By the way, do you know any of the Polish language?

    Oh, and I lost your e-mail address...I wanted to e-mail you about setting up a possible photoshoot date with your gals...e-mail me at: and we can talk over details ;)


  2. Folk festivals are SO much fun--I love the food (yours looked SO good), the dancing and music, the children and families!! I am so glad you were able to enjoy your wonderful heritage:)

  3. What a fun way to celebrate your heritage! I was telling a Ugandan the other day that my love for potatoes must come from my Irish roots (as well as my love for Celtic music, etc.). :) Cute video, too

  4. Oh, so we would be neighbours since I have lived in Belarus right next to Poland all my life! Oh, I could just feel what a great time you had. And the fd, oh THE FOOD - you have no idea how much I really miss it. I wish I could be there enjoying all of it too.:-)

  5. Hi Mikaela!

    It was great to get your comment on our blog a few days ago - so much fun to hear from old friends!!! I'm sorry for not getting back with you sooner! :) I actually tried to leave you a comment Thursday night, but I was on my phone and it wasn't working. Anyway, not to give excuses, but we DID have a crazy weekend with several friends/families up here helping us re-roof our house and all the prep/clean up that goes into that!!!

    Enough of that though... :)
    Yes, I do still post on our blog - although I'm afraid I get behind all to often. We've been going "90 to nothin'" for the past month (or longer) and blogging quickly goes to the bottom on a list of priorities!!! :) I've got a TON of posts I'd like to do though so hopefully within the next couple of weeks I can get some new ones up. So be sure to check back!!!

    As soon as I post this, I'm going to follow your blog in my RSS feed. It will be nice to be able to stay up with each other again. Blogs are great for that!

    I pray you and your family are doing well. Many blessings to you and we'll be in touch!!!


    P.S. Can you believe its been 4 and 1/2 years since Jamestown?! Time sure goes by fast...All the more reason to seize the day!

  6. Thanks for following and commenting! I just followed you, so now I'll be sure to keep up with you. Blogging has been a fabulous way for me to connect and reconnect with brothers and sisters in Christ, and I love the edifying, stimulating atmosphere!

    I have to agree with you that it is indeed quite incredible that Jamestown was 4.5 years ago. I had the opportunity to talk with the Botkin sisters in April, and they were communicating what a special, precious event that was--how many close friendships were forged, how unified the vision was, and even all the marriages they know of that came out of that one event! (We know of one, and they knew several couples, I guess.) Anyways, it is definitely a treasured memory, and you are among the treasured friendships I made, so I am delighted to get to know you once again.

  7. The food looks amazing! What a great time!

  8. T.C. Avey--It really was fun! What is your heritage?
    Raquel--That would have been so fun to see you there! My grandma and great-uncles have taught me some, but when I took Spanish in school I kind of lost it. I'd really love to learn more of it, though! We'll be in touch... (-:
    Ruthie--I didn't know you were Irish! I think that's the one thing I'm not, sadly. From what I remember of Ugandan food, loving potatoes is a good thing, right? (-:
    Anya--Oh, I wish you could have been there, too! The food was absolutely fabulous! But I don't know much about Belarussian food--is it similar to Polish?
    Brandy--You have no idea! Of course, homemade with your own hands is always better, but especially the doughnuts were just amazing!


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