Festival in Pacific Beach celebrates Polish culture and cuisine
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 10/03/16 - 04:36 PM | 7505 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
October wouldn't seem right without the annual Polish Festival in San Diego taking place Friday through Sunday, Oct. 7-9, at St. Maximilian Kolbe Roman Catholic Church at 1735 Grand Ave. in Pacific Beach.  

“This annual fundraising event is one of the most popular ethnic festivals in the Pacific Beach area, attracting people from all around San Diego as well as international visitors who want to get a taste of what Poland is all about,” said Kolbe spokeswoman Agnieszka Giacalone.

“Delicious Polish food is definitely a must at the festival – pierogis (dumplings stuffed with sauerkraut or potato and cheese), Golabki (meat stuffed cabbage rolls), Bigos (Hunter’s stew), potato pancakes and famous grilled kielbasa (Polish sausage),” Giacalone said. “Polish pastries, soft drinks, coffee and tea will also be available.”

The colorful Polish Festival is a tribute to Polish heritage, culture and cuisine. St. Maximilian was built in 1995 in Pacific Beach to serve the Polish community, a large number of whom who emigrated from their native land during the Solidarity labor-union movement of the 1990s.

The church is named for St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan friar and World War II-era hero who voluntarily sacrificed himself in the place of a stranger at the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp.

Kolbe provided shelter to refugees from Greater Poland, including 2,000 Jews, whom he hid from Nazi persecution in his friary until he was arrested by the German Gestapo and imprisoned. While imprisoned, Kolbe volunteered to take the place of a man condemned to be starved to death. In his cell, Kolbe led men in songs and prayer. After three weeks of dehydration and starvation, only he and three others were still alive. He was murdered with an injection of carbolic acid.

Adults over 21 years of age will have an opportunity to try Polish beer at the festival by well-known brands such as Okocim, Warka and Zywiec.

Artistic entertainment will include Polish folk dance groups – Polonez from San Diego and Krakusy from Los Angeles, 224 Kosciuszko Polka Band, Il Giardino d’Amore baroque chamber orchestra from Vienna, and many others.

For those who want to learn more about the church and also join in prayer, Holy Mass and tours of the church will be offered. Veneration of the relics of St. John Paul II, St. Sister Faustina, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. Padre Pio and other saints will also be offered.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward supporting the Parish – the main goal being the continued renovation of St. Maximilian Kolbe Roman Catholic Church.

Father Jerzy Frydrych of Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe said the church’s primary mission is to “serve the needs of Polish people.” He noted part of that is having mass said in Polish, while adding there is also a Saturday service in English.

Frydrych said funds raised from the annual festival “go to renovate the church,” pointing out improvements have included stained-glass windows and a new church sanctuary.

Event admission is $5. Those under age 16 get in for free.

For more information and details, visit www.polishmission.org/festival/index.php.

Polish Festival

When: Friday through Sunday, Oct. 7-9

Where: St. Maximilian Kolbe Roman Catholic Church at 1735 Grand Ave.

Info: www.polishmission.org

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