Already excited for Polish Heritage Fest

All day Sunday, Sept. 11, beginning with the outdoor Mass conducted by the Bishop himself, and followed by Polish food, polka band, dancers,etc., will be the Polish Heritage Festival. Last year, more than a thousand persons attended this all-day event. It is exciting even for a Romanian-American, like me!

This is one of my favorite events of the year. It has everything. History, things for the children, Polish cookbooks, and some new things you will not want to miss. The Polish Garden is nearby and looks fantastic. One of the Clematis vines was developed by the Polish monk who has won international accaim for his work from gardeners everywhere. (I do not know if the clematis will be blooming that late in the season.) Alex Rakowski began the Polish Garden and it is kept up by the Polish Heritage Committee, which is chaired by Mark Kolasa, who owns Cafe Elite and is a well-known caterer.

The event will take place in what was the International Friendship Gardens and now is named the Friendship Botanic Gardens, a 305-acre area in Michigan City on U.S. 12, open since 1936 and originally developed by the Stauffer brothers, who had such a lovely garden at the Chicago World's Fair that Mrs. Frank Warren wanted them to come to Michigan City and do their magical landscaping. Thousands would come each weekend to see Shakespeare plays and to see ballets, etc. John Leinweber, the new President of the site, is determined to bring citizens back to see this wondrous site. If you come, you will see ethnic gardens, Romanian, Polish, Norwegian, Native American, German, Scotland and, soon, Ireland. Also, there is the beautiful wedding area, the Symphony Garden, where the fountains run when there is an event.

There is so much to tell you, but come see Lake Lucerne and the Rose Garden and Chinese Bridge and many other features you have to see to believe. The Polish Counsul General walked throughout the entire 305 acres she enjoyed it so much. This is the fifth year for the Polish Heritage Committee and the enthusiasm is still there, more than ever. You can join by just showing up at its meetings.

Contact Gene and Carole Tylisz at 879-1453 for more information.

I can smell the Polish food, and see the costumed dancers who seem to have fantastic energy, and I will see you there for sure. Join the band with its musical and delightful polkas. (Reminds me of the Romanian picnics I had as a child with the East Chicago gypsies providing the music in the forest.) The thing I like very much about the Polish Heritage Committee is every penny that comes in goes toward scholarships, the Polish garden or anything that advances Poland in the U.S.A. As former Vice President of the International Friendship Gardens, I was able to vote on the restoration of the Gardens, which needed much work after Clarence Stauffer died at age 100. Dedicated to Peace and Friendship to all Nations, the Netherlands donated 200,000 tulips to it and most of the world's leaders sent seeds or plants to it.

I can hardly wait for the Polish event.

George V. Neagu


Michigan City

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