On a warm, windy spring day in Houston, Our Lady of Czestochowa Catholic Church held their 5th annual Polish Festival. The festival was held on Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1, 2011 on the church grounds in the Spring Branch area of Houston. A large crowd showed up on both Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the good food, cold piwo and great entertainment. The festival opened on Saturday morning at 10:00 am with a presentation of the American, Polish and Texas flags and singing of the national anthems of the United States and Poland. There was plenty of activity for young and old on both days.
Lots of good food including delicious pierogi, golabki, kielbasa, bigos and a huge assortment of traditional cakes, rolls and desserts was served all day and there was plenty of cold beer, wine and soft drinks to go with it. There were games, a water slide, rock climbing wall and other fun activities in the children’s area along with vendor booths, the silent auction hall and raffle tickets for the adults. A special youth concert was held in the silent auction hall on Saturday.
The large outside stage area drew the biggest crowd and the entertainers kept the audience cheering for more. DJ Chris Piorkowski made the announcements and kept the entertainment flowing along. The children from the Polish School and the Parish Youth Dance Troupe sang, danced and wowed the crowd at intervals throughout both days. The Bernard Band played European “Gypsy” music on Saturday morning and Polonia Houston Parish ensemble sang traditional Polish folk songs on Saturday and Sunday. The Halny Band played popular modern Polish music, Edward Winiarski and guests sang traditional songs and Aneta Barcik sang classic Polish songs from the 20th century.
On Saturday afternoon, Texas-Polish dance band fiddler Brian Marshall took to the stage and entertained the crowd along with son Jakub on the clarinet and son Michal on the fiddle, together with talented musicians Mark Rubin on bass, Bradley Jay Williams on concertina, Chuck Bolin on drums. Bebem player James Mazurkiewicz joined in from time to time. To continue a tradition started last year Brian Marshall took up a collection and raised enough money to buy Father Leszek a new cowboy hat. Father Leszek joined the band on the stage and sang Pije Kuba with Brian.
On Sunday morning, a Beatification of John Paul II celebration Mass was held in the beautiful parish church followed by a Polish Constitution Day Parade. Texas cowboy accordionist Chris Rybak and his lovely wife Edita along with guitarist James Rittenhouse rounded out the evening with their unique brand of entertainment which included a variety of lively dance songs.
If you missed this years festival, be sure and make plans now to attend next year.
Below are a few photos of the fun and there is a slideshow of many more photos from Saturday on page 2 and a slideshow of more photos from Sunday on page 3.
There are a few music videos in the Polish Texans Video section or you can see more videos on our YouTube Channel.