The annual Dyngus Day Buffalo celebration is set to kick off to the beat of a drum as musicians gather from all over Easter Sunday for the blessing of the instruments.
“We have close to 30 polka bands from Buffalo or out of town who will be playing. It really is the biggest one day polka festival in the world so it becomes a great tradition,” said Marty Biniasz, co-founder of Dyngus Day Buffalo.
The official kick off will take place 6 p.m. Sunday, March 31 at the PVT Leonard Post Post VFW, 2450 Walden Ave, Cheektowaga. There will be live polka music from the Buffalo Torch, Lenny Gomulka, and the Chicago Push. Then, at 7:30 p.m. a priest will lead in the blessing of the instruments.
The following day is when the fun really begins. Dyngus Day has been celebrated in Polish American colonies since the 1800’s, but in 1961 the Chopin Singing Society celebrated the first modern Dyngus Day celebration. Biniasz said this celebration was the first one that involved a public lunch, live polka music, dancing, and celebration with Polish beer and vodka.
“It just turned into a party and from that one party, it grew in Buffalo as the Dyngus Day Capitol of the World,” he said.
The event is now the biggest celebration of Polish pride in the country. It emphasizes letting loose and having a good time after the strictly followed 40 days of lent. Dyngus Day is greatly celebrated in the historic Polonia District, which is the east side of Buffalo near Broadway and Fillmore. It is also celebrated in the outer Polonia Districts like Cheektowaga, Depew, and Lancaster where many Polish Americans reside.
Although Anderson Cooper, national journalist, was invited to Buffalo to be the “Pussy Willow Prince,” after he poked fun of the event on national television, he could not make it this year. Biniasz said he hopes to see him next year, but Cooper will not be named the prince until he shows up.