The 4th annual Polish Festival at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in Houston was held on Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2, 2010 on the church grounds in the Spring Branch area of Houston. This was the first year that the festival was held on two days. A large crowd showed up on both Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the beautiful warm Texas weather, good food, cold beer and a great variety of entertainment. The festival opened on Saturday morning at 10:00 am with a presentation of the flags and singing of the national anthems of the United States and Poland. As the day wore on, it was pretty obvious that everybody in the large crowd was having a good time.
Lots of good food including delicious pierogi, golabki, kielbasa, bigos and barbeque was served all day and there was plenty of beer, wine and soft drinks to go with it. There were games, a bungee trampoline and other fun activities in the children’s area along with vendor booths, the silent auction hall and raffle ticket booth. The official festival t-shirt included a remembrance of the recent deaths of Poland’s President, First Lady and others in a plane crash in Katyn.
As always, the stage area drew the biggest crowd and the entertainers kept the audience cheering for more. DJ Chris Piorkowski along with James Mazurkiewicz made the announcements and kept the entertainment flowing along. The children from the Polish School sang, danced and wowed the crowd at intervals throughout both days. The Slavic Heritage Band with plenty of brass instruments played dance music on Saturday morning and The Goral Band and the musical group Zawadiaki kept the festival crowd dancing all day. There was even a surprise visit by Elvis who sang a song or two and then posed for photos.
On Saturday afternoon, Texas-Polish dance band fiddler Brian Marshall entertained the crowd along with talented musicians Mark Rubin on bass, Bradley Jay Williams on concertina, Tim Walsh playing his horns and Chuck Bolin on drums. Bebem players Brian Wisnoski and James Mazurkiewicz joined in from time to time. One of the highlights of the evening was when Brian’s young son Michal joined him on stage, playing Polish music on his dad’s fiddle.
It was noted by Brian Marshall that Our Lady of Czestochowa’s new Pastor, Fr. Leszek was lacking a bit of Texas attire so he took up a collection and raised enough money to buy Father a new pair of cowboy boots. To show his appreciation, Father Leszek took to the stage and sang a Polish song while the band played.
On Sunday, Texas cowboy accordionist Chris Rybak and his lovely wife Edita along with guest musicians James Rittenhouse and Bernard Tupa and guest singer Renata Kimakova rounded out the evening with their unique brand of entertainment which included a variety of lively dance songs.
If you missed this years festival, make plans now to attend next year. You surely won’t regret it.
Below are a few photos of the fun and there is a slideshow of many more photos from Saturday on page 2 and slideshow of more photos from Sunday on page 3.