Roncesvalles Polish Festival

Roncesvalles Polish Festival Kicks Off

The popular Roncesvalles Polish Festival officially kicked off with a harvest celebration this afternoon and is expecting 100,000 visitors from all over Toronto today and tomorrow. Although the weather isn't ideal for the outdoor fun and food, Roncesvalles Ave is closed down and the festival mood has taken hold of the neighbourhood.

Polish food and musical tastes are on fine display, and a number of non-Polish businesses from Roncesvalles and beyond comprised a surprisingly large portion of the vendors. The festival offers the chance to see Chicago band Freeze Dried, described as "a polka band backed by the Supremes," while eating Malaysian murtabak (think roti) alongside pierogies, 'kraut and sausage.

As is tradition, the festival officially kicked off with the Dozynki, a traditional Polish harvest celebration, in which the Harvest Bread, dignitaries and "Lord and Lady" of the festival form a processional down Roncesvalles Ave from Howard Park to south of Wright. Several clowns honking horns and a golf cart cleared the way for the procession, which also featured children and adult Polish cultural groups.

It wasn't surprising to find local businesses, especially restaurants, spilling out onto the sidewalk, which meant that a number of delicious offerings were available, including churros, sausage and oysters. Although only $1.40 each (tax included), FatCat's oysters couldn't deter me from my mission of Polish sausage ($2 on a bun with all the fixin's at Chicago Butcher Shoppe) and pierogi (widely available). But getting samosas or Thai mango salad to enjoy while heading south to Pierogi Central seemed a popular choice for festival goers.

South of Fern Ave it becomes all Polish, and the lines at the Supreme truck, Super Kolbasa and others made one thing clear: the world has come to Roncesvalles, but Polish is still its heart and soul.

I gladly downed Granowska's $5 mix of sausage, pierogies and sauerkraut, as well as Roncesvalles Bakery's $1.25 potato pancake. Maybe tomorrow I'll be ready for some cabbage rolls and more sausage from Super Kolbasa.

Despite the rain, I can still hear the party going strong up and down Roncesvalles. Come for some pieogi and beer and stay for the polka.

Photos by pastabroccoli.


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