EDITORIAL: Little Poland Festival gets a reprieve

While the traditional Little Poland Festival in New Britain won’t take place this year a different version of the celebration is coming up on Sunday, made possible through a local collaborative effort.

The festival had trouble fundraising and getting volunteers during the pandemic and the event was canceled again this year, last year the pandemic closed it down, too.

The festival, typically held on Broad Street, in New Britain, has attracted big crowds over the years, not surprising as according to the 2018 American Community Survey (that’s the U.S. Census Bureau) about 7.26 percent of Connecticut’s population can claim that heritage.

But the festival isn’t exclusively attended by those of Polish heritage, it’s for everyone to enjoy and learn more about Polish culture, history and accomplishments.

This year, Polish Cultural Day will fill in the gap with a slightly different take. The New Britain Bees will host the event at its stadium, 230 John Karbonic Way on the New Britain/Kensington line.

The fun begins Sunday, July 25, at 11 a.m. and goes until 7 p.m. Admission is free. An exhibition ballgame in the afternoon will be part of activities, along with traditional Polish food, music and family-oriented attractions. Local favorite, the Broad Street Band, will perform.

The Bees have celebrated the Polish community before, such as hosting Polish Heritage Night a few years ago.

The title sponsor for Polish Cultural Day is a Berlin-based business, Euro-American Homecare. A home care agency with most of its caregivers from Poland or other Eastern-European countries.

Partial proceeds from the event will benefit the Forever In My Heart Foundation. The organization, with a main office in Berlin, trains rescue dogs to become service dogs for disabled veterans.

It’s hard to keep traditions going, even in the best of circumstances. The pandemic has added a huge burden to those who put so much effort into orchestrating the community events we love and that create good times and happy memories. With all the difficulties over the past 18 months with the health situation, it would be so easy to let these enriching activities lapse.

Re-working existing elements, plus adding some new ideas, to create an interim measure with Polish Cultural Day is a good example of how to survive.

While Little Poland Festival organizers have stated their intent to bring the festival back to Broad Street, just keeping the event going is a good move and one that may ultimately strengthen it by building these collaborations.

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