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Rain or shine, another successful festival!

The 52nd Annual Polish Festival began on a high note with the Polish flag being raised at Syracuse’s City Hall by Mayor Matt Driscoll. Senator Hillary Clinton and Congressman Jim Walsh sent letters welcoming guests that heard the sounds of Syracuse’s own Arlene Crissan sing with Fifteen Grammy Award winner, Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra, sponsored by Drs. Juan and Dorothy Kozlowska-Kassab of Smile Solutions. On the same day, Anya, a student at the University of Connecticut, sang songs that she wrote unrolling her promising stage career. Her unique voice won the hearts of her new Syracuse fans as festival chairman and entertainment director, Tad Szyszka called the two acts, Jimmy Sturr and Anya the “crossing-of-generations.”

The beautiful Alizma triplets from Los Angeles, singing and playing the violins captivated the audience! The talented dancers from Toronto, Canada, the Lechowia Dance Company, the Tatry Polish Folklore Ensemble from Montreal, Quebec, and the Little Poland Dance Ensemble from Utica, New York had the crowd on their feet clapping as they watched the young people perform dances from various areas of Poland. Kasia Malinowska and Kava 4.2 warmed the square with their energetic electronic act and Joe Stanky and his Cadets had the audience dancing under the stars. Besides Joe Stanky, there were three additional polka bands: Syracuse’s Jasiu Klocek and the Salt City Brass with the lovely vocal of Susan Klocek, from Pennsylvania John Stevens and Doubleshot and from Massachusetts Grammy Nominee, Maestro’s Men. Local Punani Cin Cin Band and singer, Ashley Cox, Sammy award winner, added variety to the program.

CNY Radio celebrities: Gary Sroka from WRUN, Joe Janowski, and Bob Pietrucha from WTLA, Richard Noga from WIBX, Polkastony from www.polkasonline.com and Mark Bostick from Jazz 88 WAER were the masters of ceremony.

What is a Polish Festival without the delicacies from Poland? Seven Restaurants served food that included Polish kielbasa, pierogi golabki and real “American” food like pit barbecue. The Syracuse Polish Community Home, a festival sponsor, kept people warm with coffee, tea and homemade paczki. Besides the Polish flags flying everywhere, the white and green colors of Okocim umbrellas were seen on the grounds. Stawski Imports and Stawski Distributing Company of Chicago, the main festival sponsor provided Polish beer, Okocim, Perla and for the first time at the festival, Zamkowe, a dark beer, which gained new fans in Central New York.

The Polish National Alliance, a festival sponsor was there with a booth along with other vendors selling Polish books, arts, crafts, jewelry and music.

Children were not forgotten at the festival with face painting, a caricature artist, colorful toys and car/truck racing. Mary Hagen and Susie Mazzoni organized the children’s entertainment.

The festival, the main source of funds for the Polish Scholarship Fund, Inc. distributed $10,800 to students from central New York. Thanks to Stanley Stawski, founder of Stawski Imports and Price Chopper, who were with the Polish Festival from the time the city of Syracuse invited ethnic festivals to downtown Syracuse.

Ten Central New York students each received $1,000.00 to help further their education. Based on scholastic aptitude, financial need, career aspirations, extra curricular activities and participation in Polish community activities the following students received the award: Richard Adamczyk, Melissa Bartoszewski, Karol Koziol, Thaddeus Lenkiewicz, Joseph Lyszczarz, Monika Skwarnicka, Eva Sztechmiler, Ewa Szymanska, Agatha Wozniak and Piotr Wozny.

Melissa Bartoszewski, a student at LeMoyne College, with aspirations to become a doctor, was named Miss Polonia 2006 and will also receive a scholarship. This award, directed by Kasia Prus and sponsored by Charlie Hollis from the Hollis Funeral Home is voted on by the general public at the festival.

Dr. Elizabeth Mroziewicz-Janik was honored as Pole of the Year 2006 for her outstanding achievements in the field of medicine and her contributions to the Polish community. This award is given thanks to the continuous support of Giminski-Wysocki Funeral Home.

Consul Tomasz Wielgomas from the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in New York and State Senator John DeFrancisco were present along with four area television stations, ABC News Channel 9, Time Warner News 10 Now, WSTM NBC Channel 3, CBS 5 News. Radio Station WVOA, with Jas and Jas and Carolyn reported live from the festival grounds. Journalists from one of the festival media sponsors, The Post Standard and Radio WSYR-570 were interviewing organizers. The Polish Media: The Post-Eagle from New Jersey, White Eagle from Boston, MA, the Polish News from Chicago, IL, www.Poland.us and www.NY.PL were also helping to spread the word of the festival.

The Polish Scholarship Festival ended with the first 2007 scholarship donation by Lechowia Director, Dr. Andrzej Wichert. Tad Szyszka, festival director, thanked all sponsors, supporters and volunteers.

Next year the Polish Scholarship Fund will welcome eleven time Grammy nominee, Lenny Gomulka and Chicago Push to its stage with hope of another successful festival!

For more information on the festival and Polish Scholarship, log onto www.polishscholarship.org, or contact PSF publicity director, Nancy Cummings at 315-678-2775 or CiocNancy@aol.com.

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