Sunday, July 26, 2009

Whiting PierogiFest 2009

The annual Whiting PierogiFest was held again in historic Whiting Indiana this weekend. It gets better each year. We went Friday night and had a ball. Everybody was drinking and that’s not unusual but when more than half of the crowd is over 50, that’s really something to see.

This year Mr. Pierogi was sporting a soul patch.

The Polish 1%’ers showed up.

So did the headliners of a titty bar from north Hammond who brought along their fake pierogis.

CBS2 Chicago weatherman Steve Baskerville serves as the annual Grand Marshal.

Coach Lou Holtz made an appearance.

My favorite is Ted Tomczak’s Take Five polka band.

I think of it as an Eastern European Bloc Party. The past few PierogiFests were documented here here here here and here.

The best part is Friday’s Pierogi Parade. People of American-Polish, American-Slovak and American-Czech descent all show up to make fun of ourselves. In these politically correct times more Americans of ethnic heritage should lighten up a bit. But that’s not to be since politicians aided by the media play identity politics in order to divide and enrage those among us who feel entitled to special treatment due to their ethnic origins.

While growing up during the 50’s and 60’s in a very ethnic enclave in far northwestern Indiana the elders in my family held on to their Polish traditions. I am ½ Polock and ½ Slovak. Every wedding reception was held at an American Legion post or a VFW hall and I went to dozens of them as a kid.

Every wedding reception had a live polka band performing and I remember the events fondly. An accordion or two, a sax, trumpet, base and drums was good enough but what tipped it in was the bad vocalist. I think my wedding in 1976 was the last one I have been to that had a live band. They played polka music too.

Polka music brings back youthful memories of overweight sweaty drunken relatives dancing in an in an old rental hall with no air conditioning and thick tobacco smoke hopping around and drinking shots of whiskey or brandy between tunes. Blue hair old ladies with thick ankles and old men in pastel leisure suits could sure cut a rug after chugging a few. Real polish sausage, galompkis and pierogis swimming in carmelized onions and butter were always served as the bill of fare. People were in deep conversation peppered with deeze, dems and doze. As in “doze guys over by dere ain’t got nuttin on deeze guys over here”.

Polka music is similar to Cajun and some Mexican sounds due to the similarities in instruments used. If you're in an area with live polka music and you don't feel like drinking heavily and acting like a fool then someone needs to hold a mirror under your nose.

This Frank Yankovic video is the closest thing I could find to replicate all those weddings I went to as a youngster.

Hoop dee doo, hoop dee doo....


Carl from Chicago said...

Great post! Glad you made time for this I know you are focused on making hay while the sun shines now

Dan from Madison said...

PierogiFest rocks, I need to get to this thing one year.

I totally agree everyone needs to poke fun at themselves and/or their heritage once in a while. Everything doesn't need to always be so serious and/or politically correct.