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History and Traditions Was Accomplished

Syracuse Mayor, Matthew Driscoll, opened the 53rd Annual Polish Scholarship Festival by raising the Polish Flag at City Hall on Friday, June 8 while PSF members sang the Polish National Anthem.

The sunny warm weather brought the crowds out to watch the talented Lechowia Folk Dance Company from Toronto, The Tatry Polish Folklore Ensemble, the Little Poland Dance Ensemble, Lasowiacy Polish Folk Dancers from Syracuse and the Stella Polonia Dance Group. The headline performance Saturday night, Lenny Gomulka and the Chicago Push, had the audience on their feet dancing polkas and obereks. Stephanie and Her Honky Band, , America’s Polka Sweetheart, belted out polkas. Ashley Cox, Syracuse’s own and Anya, a raising star, wooed audiences with their voices. The sensational Punani CinCin Band from Syracuse added a little rock music while Fritz’s Polka Band from Verona, New York had everyone’s feet tapping.

The Polish Scholarship Fund, a non-profit, volunteer organization would like to thank everyone who joined them at their 53-rd celebration of the Polish Festival, the weekend of June 8. Their mission, which is to provide financial assistance – scholarships, to talented students of Polish descent by organizing fundraising public events, that promote Polish culture, heritage, history and traditions was accomplished! The PSF could not carry on its mission without the help of its sponsors, such as Senator John A. DeFrancisco, who attended the Festival along with Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, Price Chopper, Giminski-Wysocki Funeral Home Inc., Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Hollis Funeral Home, The White Eagle, The Post Eagle, The Pennysaver, poland.us from New York City, Candlewood Suites and the Polish News. Many thanks also go out to Laura Hand from WSTM , Chad Newton from WTVH, Alyson Megur from WSYR, Bill Carey from News Channel 10, Gary Sroka from WRUN Radio, Polka Stoney from polkasonline.com., Joe Jankowski from WTLA & WSGO, Richard Noga, from WIBX , and Mark Bostick from Jazz 88 WAER. Jim Reith and Joe Galuski helped spread the word of the Festival on their radio talk shows on WSYR radio by having Nancy Cummings, Public Relations Director of the PSF as a guest.

The United Polka League was awarded the “Pole of the Year” on Saturday night. The UPL, which has been in existence for twenty-nine years, has as its goal to promote dancing of polkas, obereks and waltzes. The club also gives financial support to worthy charities such as the ARC, American Heart Association and the Ronald McDonald House. The Giminski-Wysocki Funeral Home was the proud sponsor of this award.

Sunday brought the crowning of Kelly Kowalczyk, a member of the Lasowiacy Folk Dance Group, as the 2007 Miss Polonia. Kelly’s dream career is a secondary school teacher; she believes that this is the most important job in the world. Miss Polonia is sponsored through the courtesy of the Hollis Funeral Home.

The main purpose of the Festival, the awarding of scholarships, took place Sunday afternoon. Bridget Lenkiewicz, Kevin Palmowski, Alison Stanulevich, Teresa Szlosek, Eva Sztechmiler, Melissa Bartoszewski, Mallory Jakaub, Nicholas Kirsch, Karol Koziol, and Michael McCarthy received $1000 each to help finance their education.

Tad Szyszka, Chairman and President of the Polish Scholarship Fund, Inc. closed the Festival at 6 PM Sunday, at Syracuse’s Clinton Square following Jasiu Klocek and his Salt City Brass playing their lively polkas.

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