Post Eagle Newspaper


May 27, 2024

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Heritage Festival Set For June 9th

NEW JERSEY – Sunday, June 9,  2013 is an important date for the Polish American Community.  This is when the Polish American Heritage League and the Garden State Cultural Center Fund will present The 41st Polish Heritage Festival.

As in the past,  this year’s annual Polish Heritage Festival will take place, rain or shine, at the PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ.  Admission is free! It’s easy to get to the festival, just drive on the Garden State Parkway to Exit 116 and then follow road signs for a short distance to the large amphitheater that marks the PNC Bank Arts Center.

Heritage festivals at the Arts Center started in 1971 with an Irish and an Italian event. Soon thereafter, the Garden State’s Polish, Scandinavian, Scottish, Slovak,  Afro-American, German, Jewish,  Ukrainian, and Chinese communities organized festivals at the Arts Center.

This year’s Polish Heritage Festival will begin on Sunday morning, June 9th at 10:30 A.M. with the celebration of a Polish/English Mass.

Ms. Isabella Szutkowski, an outstanding Polish American, is General Chair of this year’s Polish Heritage Festival. Forthcoming articles will profile Ms. Szutkowski, musicians,  dancers,  and other performers who will enliven this year’s festival.

The Polish Heritage Festival is by now a beautiful tradition that presents key aspects of Polish and Polish American culture to energize us and to help others to come to know us. In addition to the performers and delicious Polish food and beverages, the festival features scholarship awards to college students, sports, the Little Miss Contest, and other children’s activities.

Only we can preserve and strengthen the beautiful tradition of the annual Polish Heritage Festival by participating in this day of fun,  fellowship, and Polish Pride.  This is why a large turn-out is important.

The Polish American Heritage League (PAHL) is the non-profit corporation which produces and organizes the annual Polish Heritage Festivals. PAHL assures continuity from one annual festival to the next. Those who serve on PAHL’s several committees are volunteers who are committed to producing each year an informative and entertaining program.

Over the years PAHL has demonstrated its philanthropic spirit by making financial contributions to worthwhile causes like:  Polish American Congress Charitable Foundation, Pope John Paul II Monte Cassino Project, John Paul II Cultural Center Campaign,  Orchard Lake Seminary, Garden State Arts Center Cultural Fund, and the Polish Cultural Foundation in Clark, NJ.

Mrs. Dorothy (Dottie) Maziarz Sowchuk is PAHL’s longserving Chair. Born in Trenton, NJ, she has been a lifelong activist in many Polish American organizations.  She told this writer that she first became involved in the Polish Heritage Festival because her brother, the late Stanley H. Maziarz, a Polish American activist who served as the first Polish American City Clerk of Trenton, NJ,  played a key role in organizing the first festival 40 years ago. Dottie continues his work. She also serves as vice-president for Polish Affairs of the New Jersey Division of the Polish American Congress.

Mrs. Sowchuk observes that the Scottish and Italian festivals, which were held in previous years, no longer continue.  There is nothing automatic about tradition, she observed. That is why, Dottie notes, if our beautiful Polish Heritage Festival tradition is to continue, we must encourage our friends and acquaintances to attend this year’s festival.

–  John Czop