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59th Polish Scholarship Festival

The Fifty-ninth Polish Scholarship Festival was held at Syracuse’s Clinton Square on June 21, 22 and 23 with 12 Grammy nominee Lenny Gomulka and the Chicago Push from Massachusetts with his famous “Push” style of polka music heading the entertainment Saturday night.

Festivities began Friday at noon with the Polish flag being raised at City Hall with Syracuse city Major Stephanie A. Miner, PSF President – Tad Szyszka and our festival volunteers.

Melody Lane opened the entertainment on Friday; the band from Rochester, New York, performs a mix of musical styles, including modern polkas and new generation Polish music. Desire, a tribute band for U-2, out of Hamilton, Ontario continued Friday’s entertainment. Tim Shaughnessy’s incredible experience as a vocalist and entertainer is proven as he authenticates and captures the charisma of Bono on stage.

Saturday began at noon with Syracuse’s Jasiu Klocek and the Salt City Brass. Figiel Brothers from Albany also performed Saturday afternoon. Toronto’s award winning Lechowia Polish Canadian Dance Company performed both Saturday and Sunday!
The lively sounds of John Gora i Gorale were heard on stage Sunday afternoon along with the Noise Boys, a local talented duo. Besides all this great entertainment, the “Pole of the Year” was announced Saturday. This year Artur Pyrda, president of the Utica Polish Home was honored as Pole of the Year. Miss Polonia was crowned on Sunday. Christine Pyrda, a junior at Whitesboro High School was chosen by a public vote as this year Miss Polonia.

The Polish Scholarship Fund, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 organization, whose main purpose is to award scholarships to deserving students of Polish descent in the central New York area. Over the past fifty-nine years over $330,000 has been awarded while promoting Polish culture and heritage. This year PSF awarded ten scholarships, a total of $10,000 to: Agnieszka Bak, Marietta Maria Guzda, Konrad Mozdzien, Alexander Siok, John Slominski, Alexandra Szelewski, Elis Tartaglia, Megan Elizabeth Visconti, Magdalena Wozny and Christopher Zurawski.

Several vendors from North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Buffalo, Philadelphia and New York City were present at the festival. We could not exist without the help of our dedicated sponsors, especially Okocim Brewery, T.J. Sheehan and Hollis Funeral Home. The Post Standard, Scotsman Press, Polish American Journal and YNN TV, CNY Central, Chanel 3 and Channel 9 and our “Polish D.J.’s” promoted our festival on their programs continually. Included in this group are Gary Sroka, from the Saturday Polka Review, Art Kott, Bob Pietrucha and Virginia Grey from Love Radio, Richard Noga, WIBX, John Smith from Love Radio, and Mark Bostic from Jazz 88.3 who also served as our MC’s.

Our mission, thanks to enormous efforts of scores of volunteers, has been accomplished.
We thank you all for supporting and joining us at this year’s Polish Festival.

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