Cabbage rolls, warm pierogis, Polish sausage with mouthwatering sauerkraut. Those are just a few reasons Marie Lumley and Molly Blomberg insist you stop by the Polski Day on May 7.
The 34-year-old fraternal twins have spent the past couple weeks helping to cook, clean and set up for the event, which is held the first week in May to commemorate the signing of the Polish Constitution of Freedom on May 3, 1791.
When they were little, the two sisters spent the festival running around in traditional Polish costumes, giggling with friends.
Now they’re the generation keeping the celebration alive.
Blood, sweat and tears
Together the sisters have five children younger than 4, so helping to organize the festival has been especially hard work this year.
“There is so much prep work that goes on behind the scenes. It’s not something you can do the night before,” said Lumley, who also has a newborn. “It’s a three-week process of rolling thousands of cabbage rolls and setting up tables.”
All are welcome
You don’t have to be Polish to join the festivities, insist both women. In the past 32 years, the event has attracted people from all over the country.
“Even if you only see people who come to the festival once a year, they become your friends,” said Blomberg. “There are people who come fromPortland, Oregon, to Omaha, Nebraska. It’s like a family reunion where all you do is drink, eat and talk.”
Proud to be Polish
“Being Polish is more than just our heritage, it’s about our life and our family,” Lumley said. “Every Christmas, we grew up breaking the bread and wishing each other Merry Christmas in Polish. The bread is just awful, it tastes like paper, but it’s what you do because it’s tradition. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“A lot of people lose that sense of where they came from,” Lumley said. “Especially today, when the world is going by so fast with social media and technology. If you don’t keep these traditions going, who will?”
Best friends forever
“Growing up, we were always together and we shared a car and a cellphone, but not boyfriends,” Blomberg said, with a laugh. “Now, even though we’re both busy moms, we always try to make time for each other. This festival brings us together. It’s a good bonding experience.”
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 7 at All Saints Parish grounds, Eighth Street and Vermont Avenue in Kansas City, Kan. Free admission, donations accepted. Food sold separately.
Food, children’s activities, live music and raffles. Parade kicks off at 11 a.m. at 14th Street and Central Avenue, and will conclude with a Polka Mass at the church.