About Our Festival...
The Polish Heritage Festival, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, serves to promote Polish and Polish-American culture and traditions. It also helps to promote various community-service, religious, and Polish-American organizations. Funds raised are used to support various charitable causes both locally and in Poland, as well as to provide college scholarships.
The Festival serves as a family-oriented gathering place that both Poles and non-Poles can enjoy. It offers an excellent opportunity for Polish entertainers, artists, and crafters to perform in front of a large audience. It also gives Polish-American organizations and vendors an opportunity to showcase their talents and services.
Through television, radio, Internet, and print advertising, we are reaching out to inform everyone about the exciting venue that the Festival provides for our Polish-American community.
The Polish Heritage Festival is held at The Fairgrounds in Hamburg, New York. The facilities at The Fairgrounds offer more-than-adequate space for vendors, exhibitors, entertainers, food and beverage areas, fast-food vendors, children's activities, and thousands of attendees.
Thousands of people have enjoyed our Polish Heritage Festivals. Those who attend are treated to a unique panorama of cultural and educational displays, as well as top-flight entertainment.
Local Polish-American organizations highlight their contributions, solicit new members, and sell items of local interest.
We offer fun and activities for people of all ages!
Visit vendors and crafters showcasing their products and services as well as enjoy wholesome entertainment and plenty of delicious Polish food, pastries, and refreshments.
This year's Festival will be a big extravaganza with new exhibits, expanded entertainment, special children's area and folk artists! Together, we showcase the very best of our heritage.
If you wish to learn more about our Polish-American heritage in Buffalo and Erie County, New York, please have a look at the Polish-American Heritage Sheet.
James P. Jozwiak, Executive Director
Polish Heritage Festival, Inc.
This scholarship is awarded to the student attending college who helps the Polish Heritage Festival promote Polish culture and traditions.
Our Festival made the Buffalo News front page on May 31st, 2008!
Polish Festival at Hamburg Fairgrounds catches a fish fry record
Hungry Western New Yorkers grab the Guinness mark for biggest fish fry!
By Maki Becker, BUFFALO NEWS STAFF REPORTER
2,552 fillets of haddock went into Stan Krolick’s and Polish Union of America volunteer's quest Friday evening to serve the world’s biggest fish fry. At one point he came face-to-face with potential disaster. The vegetable oil in the 14 vats he had up and running on the lawn outside the dining area at the Hamburg Fairgrounds wasn’t staying hot enough. The oil needed to be bubbling. It had to be just hot enough to turn the battered slabs of frozen fish into golden brown perfection, with the flesh of the fish juicy and flaky and the outer coating crunchy and scrumptious. Krolick wanted every diner to walk out saying: That was the best fish fry I’ve ever had. Inside the dining room, dozens of hungry folks — fair-goers who were attending the 6th Annual Polish Heritage Festival — were waiting in line for their Friday fish fry and to try to put their festival in the history books. Also on hand was a representative from the Guinness World Book of Records, poised to make the call should Krolick and his band of fish fryers break the record of 2,550 fish dinners served in one evening. It was gut-check time for Krolick. He grabbed a blowtorch, got down on hands and knees and unleashed a powerful blue and yellow flame under a vat for several minutes. He jumped up and pulled out the thermometer. “Fifteen!” he bellowed, his voice hoarse from a long day of yelling orders, and one of his workers raced over with a platter of 15 pieces of frozen fish and dunked them into the now-bubbling oil. “I’ve been confident about this,” said Krolick, owner and operator of Arcade-based Krolick’s Bar-B-Q. So confident, he had five bottles of champagne on ice ready for the moment he broke the record. At 9 p. m., Krolick thought he had hit the mark. But as Danny Girton Jr., Guiness Book of World Record’s adjudication executive for North America counted the tickets to the dinners, he discovered that Krolick was 250 dinners short. Girton told Krolick that it wasn’t too late. All he needed to do was cook up the meals and serve them to someone. Anyone. That’s when the idea hit James P. Jozwiak, executive director of the Polish Heritage Festival. They could donate it to someone in need. The festival was all about doing good and serving people. Funds raised from raffles and other events at the festival every year are donated to an assortment of charities. Last year, it went to a Polish orphanage that was in danger of being closed down. “We just figured there are people who can’t make it here,” Jozwiak said. People who’d love a nice fish dinner who didn’t have a way to get to Hamburg, or just don’t have the financial means to buy one. Jozwiak knew exactly who to call. He phoned Sister Johnice Rzadkiewicz, who runs the Response to Love Center, a soup kitchen on the East Side of Buffalo, and asked her if she could use 250 fish dinners for the hungry people she helps. “I was getting ready to go to bed when the phone rang,” Sister Johnice said. “I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll be able to use it.’ ” She raced down in a van to pick up the Styrofoam boxes of fried fish, coleslaw, potato salad and rolls, which she planned to serve today at the center. “It’s a gift. I’m so excited.” Krolick was thrilled to make the record books — and help out the hungry at the same time. “This whole festival is about Polish people doing things for different charities. So what better way to [beat the record] than to do the same thing myself.” As the last of the fish was crisping up in the oil, Krolick and his crew popped the champagne. “I’ve never been so tired and exhausted and relieved,” Krolick said. The idea for beating the world record for serving the most fish dinners came last year, Jozwiak said. It would be a terrific way to put a little pizazz into the festival, he thought. And what could be a better way to celebrate a time-honored Western New York tradition? Jozwiak approached Krolick, a proud son of Poland, and they decided to give it a test run during last year’s festival. Krolick and his army of fryers and volunteers served up 817 fish fry dinners in two hours but had to abort the mission when a rainstorm hit. This year — and defying forecasts of thunderstorms Friday evening — Krolick’s team was in fighting form. Just an hour and 38 minutes into the fry-a-thon, they had hit 840 dinners. “I prayed for you,” Krolick’s 85-year-old mother, Stella Krolick, assured her son, “so it wouldn’t rain.” Her prayers appeared to have worked. The fish fry had plenty of supporters Friday as Polish- Americans, and other fish-fry lovers, flocked to the fairgrounds. Roberta Jones of Attica loaded her three kids — Michael, 16, Lisa, 14, and Angela, 9 — into her car and drove all the way to Hamburg to do their part. “It’s the world’s largest fish fry,” she said. How could she not bring her children? Patricia Harris of Hamburg had spent the day taking in Polish music with friends Shirley Mazur of Lancaster and Danie and Marge Drejas of Cheektowaga. When it was dinner time, Harris insisted they get fish fry. “I was forced to eat fish fry,” Mazur said. “I wanted Polish food.” But Harris would have none of it. “We want the record,” she told her friends. “We’re acting to support this.” Brothers Gabriel and Gerard Krafft of East Amherst heard about the record challenge on the radio. “I came out to help them reach the quota,” Gabriel said. “Hopefully, they’ll do it. It’ll give us a little respect. Something besides snow problems.”
In 2008 the Polish Heritage Festival
GREAT FAMILY FUN!
5 Races on Saturday & Sunday!
Potts Deli & Grille
See information about our sponsors.
Here are just a few e-mails and comments that we have received regarding the Polish Heritage Festival:
The Hamburg Sun – Polish pride in Hamburg this weekend.
“I have to say that I feel this was the BEST $80.00 I have ever spent. My wife and I absolutely, completely and utterly enjoyed the concert. To say it was outstanding just does not seem to do it justice. Thanks again for the great Festival and this most positively entertaining concert.” - David and Kathy, West Seneca, New York
“Congratulations on a successful festival. The phone has been ringing here at the Polish American Journal, all with positive comments on moving the festival to Hamburg. Keep up the good work!” - Mark Kohan, Polish American Journal.
“Thank you so much and the show was great. Great job.” - Thomas Murphy.
There were many, many other exhibitors and vendors, too numerous to list. Polish Heritage Festival certainly has the largest amount of exhibitors of all the Polish festivals in Western New York.
“My compliments to James Jozwiak and the Polish Union of America for sponsoring Polish Heritage Festival. Buffalo Polonia is fortunate to have this event. The new location is a big improvement.” - Tom.
“The festival and show you put together and organized are five-star quality in every aspect. We moved back here (upon retiring) from California. I so enjoyed it that I told a lot of my friends and family, ‘You have to go with us to the festival and show next year; it’s fantastic.’” - Joseph, West Seneca, New York.
“Wow! What an awesome two-day festival. There was something for everyone and every age. Great Polish music, great food, great Polish beer, great Polish items, great displays, great games and fun for the kids, a great location and great weather. The 4th annual Polish Heritage Festival had it all. If you missed it this year, don’t ever let it happen again. If you were there, I know you will be back next year.” - Jackie Schmid, Am-Pol Eagle.
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The Polish Heritage Festival, Inc., is dedicated to furthering Polish culture and heritage.
© 2011 Polish Heritage Festival, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
Contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
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