The Polish Festival, one of Oregon's premier ethnic events, celebrates it's 15th anniversary Sept. 25-26 on the Polish Library Hall and St. Stanislaus Church grounds at 3916 N. Interstate Ave. Admission is free.
More than 12,000 people attended last year's celebration recognizing Oregon's historic Polish neighborhood. The celebration is the largest Polish festival in the Western United States, says coordinator Marek Stepien who has Polish festivals in the American Midwest and Canada.
The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, and noon to 6p.m., Sunday, with continuous stage entertainment and a Saturday night street dance.
Performers will include the popular Polonez renaissance court dance company from Vancouver, B.C.
This year's festival foods will include pierogis, Polish entrees, fruit-filled pastries and, delectable kielbasa sausages, and beer garden featuring Polish lagers, porters and other beers. Chefs have ordered 15,000 pierogis for the two-day fete and imported 6,000 bottles of Polish beers and wines.
This year's festival includes special exhibits on the city of Torun, Poland, the birthplace of astronomer Nicholas Copernicus, and a city that European Union has recently nominated as a cultural center.
Oregon's first Polish families were predominately from the Carpathian Mountains of southern Poland and eastern Poland near present-day Ukraine. The families created a Polish National Alliance chapter in 1892 and built the historic St. Stanislaus Roman Catholic Church in 1907 and Polish Library Hall in 1911. Both landmarks display Romanesque architecture common in southern Poland, and have been officially recognized as state historic sites.
The parish's namesake is St. Stanislaus Szczepanowski, martyr of the early church. He was archbishop of Krakow in the 11th Century. One of his successors as archbishop of Krakow, was Archbishop Karol Wojtyla, who would become Pope John Paul II in 1978.
To get to the festival site, take I-5 and then the Swan Island exit (exit 303), and turn south on Interstate Avenue and proceed six blocks to the festival grounds. Free parking is available at the adjacent Kaiser Permanente complex lots and garages.
Visitors can also take the Light Rail Yellow Line to the Overlook Station. Easy transfers from the Westside and Eastside MAX are available at the Rose Garden station.
For more information on the festival, contact Marek Stepien..