Excitement was in the air early on Saturday morning, June 25, 2011 as the 24th annual Polski Dzien or Polish Days began in downtown Bremond, Texas. Vendors were setting up on Main Street long before the sun came up and the day officially started at 8:00 am with the Polish Pickle Run, a 5K run for adults and a 1K run for the kids. There were a record number of runners this year and each participant received a beautifully designed t-shirt with a photo of a vintage Polish wedding on it. As they crossed the finish line, the runners were greeted with cold piwo, kielbasa, watermelon and lots of other refreshments.
After the race, a raffle drawing for a heifer calf was held and awards were handed out in front of the Bremond Press building. The awards consisted of cash, medals and of course a jar of official Polish Pickle Run pickles. The crowd gathered along Main Street about 10:30 am as the long parade started at St. Mary’s Church and slowly made its way downtown. There were lots of Polish flags and Polish themed floats and vehicles in this years parade along with horses, motorcycles, vintage cars, fire trucks and tractors. The parade marshals this year were Stella Yanowski, Helen Groholski, Marie Abraham, Betty Yezak and Jeanne Wierzbicki, the Chamber of Commerce members who started Polski Dzien in 1988.
Main street was lined with plenty of craft vendors and food booths. There was no shortage of Polish food this year as Polonia Restaurant, Texas Slav and German Boutique and Bremond Video and Ice Cream Parlor served pierogi, kielbasa, bigos and other delicious Polish foods. The Coal Mine Restaurant, a short drive from the festival grounds, also served Polish food all day long.
The air-conditioned Bremond Historical Museum building was a popular place to hang out this year. Raffle tickets for a quilt made of past Pickle Run t-shirts were on sale and the Polish Genealogical Society of Texas had an informative booth where visitors could learn about their Polish heritage.
Entertainment was provided throughout the day under a large tent with tables and chairs so people could sit, eat and listen to the music. The music started with Dr. Jim Mazurkiewicz, a talented Polish musician and singer who played old Polish tunes on his concertina along with Mark Hopcus on guitar, James Mazurkiewicz on bem bem and Frank Motley on button accordion. Later in the afternoon, the Charles Nemec Band with Bremond native Ronnie Slafko played lots of good Polka music.
A 42 domino tournament was held along with horseshoe, washers, three-on-three basketball and volleyball games and lots of other activities throughout the day. The kids had a special area with inflated bouncers, water slides and a train ride. A Polka Mass was held in the evening at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and a street dance with music by Route 4 Band finished off the long day.
The most memorable event of the day started around 4 pm in the Texas Slav & German Boutique building where Polish danceband fiddler Brian Marshall led an all-star cast of musicians in a 4 hour jam session of traditional Polish music along with some old country tunes. Musicians included Brian Marshall, Chuck Bolin, Kevin Syzdek, Ronnie Dutka, Frank Motley, Sonny Janczak, Mark Hopcus, Ron Ohendalski, Jimmy and James Mazurkiewicz, Eddie Marshall, Jakub and Michal Marshall, Gerald Krusleski, Ed Filar, Phillip and Kyle Berger, Ron and Jake Kasowski, Raymond Yanowski and Ronnie Slafko.
Below are a few photos of the fun and there is a slideshow of many more photos on page 2. There are a few music videos in the Polish Texans Video section or you can see more videos on our YouTube Channel.