Taste of Polonia

September 3, 2009 You don't have to be Polish to appreciate the rich heritage, food and music of Chicago's Polish community. Every Labor Day weekend for the past 30 years, Chicago has enjoyed an annual Polish festival that boasts of being the city's largest outdoor ethnic event. Each year, the festival on the northwest side attracts more than 40,000 people looking to indulge in their favorite Polish foods, including polska kiebasa, pierogies and potato pancakes, plus American treats from a dozen local vendors.


Zupa Piwna (Polish Beer Soup)

Bigos (Hunters Stew)

Golumki (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)

The 30th annual Taste of Polonia Brought to You by National City starts on Friday, Sept. 4 and offers three days and four nights of fabulous food and non-stop entertainment on five stages in Jefferson Park at Lawrence & Milwaukee Avenues. Once you've had your fill of your favorite Polish dishes, you can visit one of four outdoor stages or one indoor stage for live music for every taste -- from established and emerging local artists, to internationally known musicians. The festival's musical line-up includes renowned talent all the way from Poland: Sidney Polak, Sztywny Pal Azji and Lombard. Plus performances by Chicago's own: ARRA, Rick Saucedo, Steepwater Band, Kashmir, Cover Gurl, Libido Funk Circus, Brit Beat, 'the Gents,' Dixie Kings and more. The live shows are followed by a line-up of Chicago club DJs such as DJ Caffeine, DJ Erik K and Miss Sylvia.

You can also learn how to make your favorite Polish dish at free cooking classes hosted by Chicago celebrity chef, Michael Niksic (a.k.a. The Food Mercenary) www.TheFoodMercenary.com . Chef Michael will be sharing recipes all weekend long; he'll also be hosting monthly cooking classes called "Feastivals" at the Copernicus Foundation after the event. You can learn how to make Zupa Piwna (Polish Beer soup), Bigos (Hunters' Stew), Golumki (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls) and other Polish specialties. For more information on the classes, sponsored by Jewel, visit www.FreeCookingPrograms.com and www.TheFeastivals.com.

. At the festival, you can also check out hot new trends from contemporary Polish designers at one of the daily fashion shows; tap your foot along to a performance of traditional folk dancing; do the polka; roll the dice at "Big Nick's Casino" in the theatre lobby, or take a stroll around the Festival Marketplace to shop old-world treasures.

Children are invited to visit "Kid's World" complete with inflatables, The Home Depot's "Kids Workshops," a Children's Theater, live broadcasts by Radio Disney and a variety of live performances on the "Kids Stage!"

Festival hours are Friday: 5-11 pm, Saturday & Sunday: 12-11 pm, and Monday: 12noon-10 pm.

Regular admission: $6; Seniors: $3, children 12 and under and college students with student & photo ID are free.

For more info and entertainment schedule, visit: www.copernicusfdn.org/tasteofpolonia.html

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