October is Polish American Heritage Month and after a long, hot, dry Texas summer, it’s time to get out and enjoy the beautiful fall weather we traditionally have in October. There are plenty of festivals and other activities going on this month and here’s a list of things to do to celebrate your Polish heritage.
St. Stanislaus In Anderson Bazaar
On the 2nd Sunday in October of every year, hundreds of Polish Texans come to Anderson, Texas to celebrate the annual homecoming bazaar at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church. Make plans to join the fun on October 9th of this year.
This year’s event will begin with a 9 a.m. Mass, followed by a barbecue and sausage dinner with all the trimmings will be served at 11 a.m. There will be booths and games for all ages, a raffle drawing with lots of nice prizes and a live auction. The beautiful, historic St. Stanislaus church will be open for visitors to view.
Live music by Polish dance band fiddler Brian Marshall and his group of talented musician family and friends for dancing and entertainment from 2pm until dark. As always, it will be well worth the trip to Anderson just for the music.
For more information see St. Stanislaus Website.
Annual Homecoming Turkey Dinner In Panna Maria
Panna Maria (meaning Virgin Mary) is the oldest Polish settlement in the United States. Panna Maria was founded by Father Leopold Moczygemba and about 100 Silesian families from Pluznica, and surrounding villages of Silesia, Poland. The parishioners of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church hold their Annual Homecoming Turkey Dinner every year on the 2nd Sunday in October which is October 9th this year.
Along with the traditional turkey and dressing with all the trimmings dinner, there will also be a live auction, raffle with lots of nice prizes and tours of the beautiful church and museum. Genealogists will be on hand to help anyone trying to learn more about their family history.
St. Mary in Bremond Annual Homecoming Bazaar
Bremond Texas is one of the oldest and most well known Polish settlements in Texas. St. Mary Catholic Church holds their annual Homecoming and Bazaar on the 3rd Sunday of October each year. On October 16th of this year, descendants of the early Polish settlers of Robertson and Falls county will come to Bremond for fun, food and fellowship.
A delicious barbecue beef and sausage dinner will be served beginning at 11:30 am along with all of the fixings, home made deserts and ice tea. There will be lots of fun and activity for all ages including the Country Store, Toy and Plant Booth along with face painting and hay rides for the kids. The Homemade Goods booth will have lots of delicious Bremond food. There is also a live auction and raffle drawing.
Polish Heritage Festival in Brenham
St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Brenham Texas holds their annual Polish Festival on the 4th Sunday of October each year. On October 23rd of this year they will celebrate their 21st annual festival by cooking up a delicious home style Polish meal consisting of smoked ham, kielbasa, sauerkraut, potatoes, green beans and pickles along with a choice of czarnina or rosol (duck or chicken soup).
There will also be plenty of take home food including popular traditional Polish dishes such as pierogi, kiska and kielbasa Try your luck at the grocery and cake booths and bring the kids for lots of fun activities. Daniel Cendalski and his band, Daniel and the Country Boys will entertain the crowd with a lively mix of Polish and Country music.
Learn To Speak Polish
In an effort to learn or re-learn the language of their ancestors, a group of people are meeting for Polish lessons every other Tuesday in the old parish hall at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Anderson, Texas.
The class is taught by Michael Kurtin and Teresa Golec Bystry, two fluent Polish speakers with different backgrounds. Mike is a native Texan whose Polish ancestors settled in Bryan and Houston Texas in the late 1800′s. Mike spent several years studying the Polish language at the Catholic University of Lublin in Poland, the same university that Fr. Karol Wojtyła taught at before he became Pope John Paul II. Teresa is a native Polish speaker who was born in Janów Lubelskie Poland.
For more information, contact the office at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Anderson.
Enjoy Real Polish Food at Polonia Restaurant
Sharon & Andrzej Szpak serve up delicious Polish food at their restaurant in the Spring Branch area of Houston located at 1900 Blalock, near Beltway 8 and I10 West. This is the only restaurant in the Houston area that serves authentic Polish Cuisine. Enjoy traditional Polish favorites including bigos, kielbasa, pierogi, schabowy, golonka, paczki and more in an old world atmosphere. For a cozy dinner for two or a party for 50 people or anything in between, this is the place to go for good Polish food.
For more information visit Polonia Restaurant Website
Polish Food and Fun At The Texas Renaissance Festival
The Texas Renaissance Festival in Plantersville , which opens on October 8th this year, is one of the most popular fall destinations for fun loving Texans. Because eating good food is an important part of any festival, the Ren Fest has hundreds of food vendors to satisfy the taste buds of just about anyone. Every type of food imaginable resides in the brightly painted shops that line the sidewalks and as you make your way to the back of the festival grounds, you will see a colorful shop that displays a prominent Polish flag along with the Polish Eagle.
This food shop is an extension of Polonia Restaurant, Houston’s only restaurant that serves authentic Polish cuisine. Owners Andrzej and Sharon Szpak provide a good variety of authentic Polish food including pierogi, golabki, kielbasa, golonka, kiszka, paczki and sernik along with the more common festival food such as turkey legs, chicken on a stick and the ever popular funnel cake. Piwo, wino and non-alcholic drinks are also available. The food and drinks are served by a friendly staff dressed in traditional Polish and medieval costumes. Beautiful Polish Eagle t-shirts, aprons and hats along with other gift and souvenir items are available next to the food shop.
Join The Polish Genealogical Society of Texas
If you are a genealogy buff or just mildly curious about your Polish ancestry, you should be a member of the Polish Genealogical Society of Texas. The PGST serves to unite Polish researchers, share information, publish Texas research for previously undocumented and unexplored areas, educate others on Polish-Texan history, sponsor trips to Polish Settlements in Texas, sponsor workshops on historical and genealogical topics relevant to Poles in Texas. The society was organized in 1982 to promote genealogical research among individuals of Polish heritage.
Yearly membership is only $20.00 and includes 3 issues of the award winning Polish Footprints periodical. Back issues of the periodical are available as hard copies and on a special CD.
Stock Up At The Polish Food Store
The Polish Food Store is a favorite shopping destination for Texans looking for authentic Polish foods. The store is located at 1780 Blalock in Houston Texas which is just a few blocks from the Polonia Restaurant and within walking distance of Our Lady Of Czestochowa Catholic church.
The store stocks a large selection of Polish sausage, hams, bacon and other meats along with packaged and canned goods and homemade frozen delicacies such as pierogi and uszka as well as Polish memorabilia like flags, T-shirts, mugs, hats etc.
You can find more information on the Polish Food Store website.
Attend Polish Mass at Our Lady of Czestochowa Catholic Church
The Polish Parish of Our Lady of Czestochowa has become the center of Polish religious, cultural, and social life in Houston. The Polish Parish is a place where Polish values are proclaimed and upheld and also a place where Poles and non-Poles can express fully their fidelity to God. They not in any sense a closed community, and welcome all Americans and all ethnic groups in our church. A key Polish value is openness to the universal mission of the Church, and thus we they to make their church a place in which their friends and neighbors of non-Polish background can feel comfortable practicing their Catholic faith and expressing their piety and identity.
Mass in Polish includes these times
Friday 7:00 p.m.
Saturday Vigil: 6:00 p.m.
Sunday: 11:00 a.m.
For more information visit Our Lady Of Czestochowa website.