#22 Polish Festival - St. Louis, MO - May 2, 2010
The Official Crest of Poland. This symbol is proudly displayed outside of St. Stanislaus Church in St. Louis, the site of this great festival. I was wondering why this festival took place this weekend. Turns out Poland certified the first Constitution in Europe, and the second in the world, on May 3, 1791. (hopefully you know the first).
I was really worried about the pork centric Polish menu when I arrived, and this plate displays what is left afterwards. There were delicious sausages, cabbage rolls (Golabki), and I was even fooled by the Hero Stew (the sauerkraut item in the middle, it also had porky chunks). Pictured are (bottom left clockwise) pierogi, green beans, vanilla cake, pickled beet, rye bread, mashed potato, and hero stew.
Meet the Christopheens. Hopefully I spelled it right as they even gave me pneumatic devices to remember. This dinner was seated by a host to fill tables, and then served family style. Luckily, I was seated with this great family from Lexington, MO. In fact, some were even directly involved in making this dinner. They were excellent company and very helpful in learning more about the festival. I also wanted to congratulate the couple in the middle, as they are getting married today (5/3)! Congratulations, and I'm happy to have been at your rehearsal dinner!
Although I got seconds on the pierogis, I was still hungry. I found this plate of potato pancake with apple sauce and sour cream, along with a cup of mushroom soup. The pancake is almost impossible to hold well, and had felt the ramifications. The soup, I was just confused by. Why mushroom soup? It tasted like Campbell's but with the grit of uncleaned mushrooms, so you know it was homemade. The pancake was good though, just not conducive to festivals.
Festival Trinket of the Week: I think there is a pattern here. It leaves so many more questions than answers. I don't know what the point of it was (besides separating fools from their money) but it makes me laugh just looking at it. That's easily worth the money I paid.
This festival was held on the north side of old St. Louis, which is not exactly a place most people want to be after dark. But it was early and very close to Crown
Candy Kitchen, a St. Louis landmark I hadn't been to in quite some time. I got my strawberry shake togo, which doesn't photograph well, and ended another great day out and about. This place reminds you that this area used to be a bustling part of St. Louis when it was one of the largest cities in America. The area has changed, but this relic reminds me of happier times. Heck, what shops are going to be open in your city 97 years from now?
Video of the Week: This is the Squeezebox Band. Apparently Stan (in the blue jersey he received that day) turned 90 years old. The band played this song, which even made the singer cry. It actually was a very touching scene, as he was surrounded by his grandchildren. I can only hope that the woman cutting in is his daughter. If you want to join Squeezebox Band on a Polka Cruise, then click right here and have fun.
I'm not sure how I could write about a Polish Festival without getting more into Polka music. One of may all-time favorite types of music. I selected this old favorite of mine, I mean it's by the Polka King Frankie Yancovic wondering who stole his kishka! Fabulous. I would also be remiss to not mention one of my childhood heroes, Weird Al Yancovic. People these days may know him for his rap videos like this or this, but I will always enjoy his accordion antics of his early years. For example, Polkas on 45. Although they have the same unique surname, Frankie and Weird are not related. Don't believe me? Hear the two Yancovics straight from the horses' mouth.
This festival was a nice surprise, hidden right in my own backyard. This is my second ethnic festival this year and I have found that people are always eager to share their culture with others. Obviously I'm not Polish, but it was nice to sit down with a family I had just met and share a meal. I was told the kielbasas and golabki were great, but the pierogi was definitely the star for me. Potato and cheese filled pillows of dough, what's not to love? These were also handmade, which I was informed took a
Pierogi is just a fun word to say. Yet, "better " people than I have really run with it. Here is an interview by a strange little reporter and an even stranger guy who is building a 17 foot statue of a pierogi on a fork. You'd think I was making it up, but here is Jeff Lohaus' website. Keep reaching for the stars Jeff. The beautiful pierogi stars.
EDIT: Thanks to Imron for this glorious clip of Padbury making pierogis, all set to a bumping techno beat. Watch out at about the 1:12 mark, Padbury is a strange woman?