It’s going to be a pussy willow, polka dancing, and kielbasa eating kind of Monday as thousands gather in Cheektowaga to celebrate their favorite polish holiday.
“During lent season you have to fast and you have to behave and try to be a better person,” said Owner of Polish Villa II, Eddie Katas. “After that 40 days of fasting and behaving, it takes the edge off them a little bit on Dyngus Day.”
Polish Villa II, 1085 Harlem Road, Cheektowaga is hosting their annual Dyngus Day celebration Monday, April 1. The tradition dates back years when Katas’ grandmother and grandfather started it at the Warsaw Inn, 1177 Broadway, Buffalo. The festivities then grew bigger and bigger and traveled to Cheektowaga where the family has kept it going ever since.
Katas stated Dyngus Day was not a huge deal in Poland. Folks would merely chase each other around and that was the end of it, but then when it was mixed with Polish music, the day turned into a party. Children can even be seen chasing each other in their polka ensembles and dancing the day away. Katas added it is important for children to learn Polish values and traditions and to adhere to them.
“We like to get the kids familiarized in it too,” said Katas. “It gets them involved with the adults and they learn traditional dances. It’s really about getting together.”
Each and every year, Katas and his family go on the east side and cut down the pussy willow bushes, so there are plenty to go around for the day. Last year, the willows were scarce because of the February frost, but Katas said there should be no problem gathering them this time around.
The Polish tradition will begin at 10 a.m. and attendees will receive a pussy willow pass with a $10 admission. Admission includes live polka entertainment from music artists Al Krew, the Buffalo Torch, New Direction, and the Platkowski Brothers.
The restaurant will also feature a Polish breakfast and dinner buffet. The buffet will include pork chops, crapes, rye bread, Polish baked chicken, sweet and sour cabbage, and bigos, which is a traditional Polish stew.
“It’s the dish of Poland because they would preserve the meat with sauerkraut since they didn’t have refrigeration. So, that’s how that came about,” said Katas.
For more information regarding the event call 822-4908. The villa is also hosting a Polka Party at the Valley of Buffalo Banquet Hall, 2379 Union Road, Cheektowaga. The all day event will last until 3 a.m.