I’m not Polish, but with a maiden name like Sarinske, everyone naturally assumes I am. I’m pretty sure I heard, “How do you spell your last name? S-a-r-i-n-S-K-I? Is that Polish?” about a million times while growing up. (Ok, slight exaggeration. Maybe only 500,000 times.) I’m German, Norwegian, Swedish, and French, and to the best of my knowledge, I don’t have any Polish ancestors. That does not, however, mean I don’t love sweet potato pierogis, polka music, vodka, and the contributions of passionate Polish inventors, scientists, musicians, artists, and entrepreneurs (Marie Curie, Nicolaus Copernicus, Steve Wozniak, Frédéric Chopin, and way too many others to mention here).
This weekend, from August 8-10, the Twin Cities Polish Festival will come to the St. Anthony Main area of Minneapolis (near Nicollet Island) from 5-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, offering everyone—Polish or not—the opportunity to learn about Polish culture, sample traditional Polish food, listen to live music, watch traditional Polish dancers, buy gorgeous colorful pottery and glassware, and enjoy a beautiful summer weekend outdoors in a naturally pretty part of Minneapolis. Admission is free.
According to the website, “Bring a blanket, take a seat along the Old Main Street in Minneapolis, visit with friends, watch outstanding musical and dance entertainment, enjoy traditional foods and beverages, and just simply have fun.”
The unique cultural exhibit this year features World War II resistance movement fighter Jan Karski, “humanity’s hero” who served as a courier for the Polish Underground State and informed Allied leaders about Nazi Germany’s ongoing extermination of the Jews. According to the Twin Cities Polish Festival website, “In 2012, US President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Karski the highest U.S. Civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel observed, ‘Jan Karski: a brave man? Better: a just man.'”
The popular 70s tribute band Boogie Wonderland will perform Friday night at 6 p.m. on the Polka Stage.
The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul is collaborating with organizers of the festival to present Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema at the St. Anthony Main Theatre. Visit the Polish Film Festival site for a full schedule of films.
A pierogi eating contest will take place at 2:30 p.m. August 9 at the Cultural Stage area (participants must be 18, pay a $20 registration fee, and sign a contest waiver).
A special vodka tasting will take place in the lobby of the St. Anthony Main Theatre Saturday at 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, and 7:30; and Sunday at 1:30 and 3:30 ($10 per person). This event has been very popular in past years, so make sure to arrive early.