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St. Joseph’s Polish Harvest Festival is Sunday

A volunteer cook preparing food for a past Polish Harvest Festival. (WN File Photo)

WESTFIELD- St. Joseph’s Parish will be hosting its annual Polish Harvest Festival — the Dozynki – Sunday, Sept. 8 at noon on the St. Joseph’s Parish grounds on Main Street.

The festival is based off of an old Polish festival that takes place at the end of the summer and the harvest season. According to Fr. Joseph Soltysiak of St. Joseph’s Parish, Polish peasants would finish their annual harvest for their lord and lady and collect the best of the flowers, fruits and vegetables that were harvested.

The best harvests would be gathered together and made into a mound-shaped wreath, which would then be presented to the lord and lady. If the pair accepted the wreath, the doors would be opened, and the festival would begin. Soltysiak said that they just about always accepted the wreath.

He added that St. Joseph’s Church has been hosting the festival in Westfield since the church was first organized in 1920. It was not until 1989, however, that the festival was held on the grounds of St. Joseph’s. The Dozynki Wreath, as it is called, will be put together today and  blessed by Soltysiak during Mass on Sunday morning ahead of the festival.

“In church, at the first Mass, the priest will bless the wreath,” said Soltysiak, “Then later on at two o’clock in the afternoon or so, they will be carrying it in procession and bring it into the main hall. Kind of saying ‘let the festivities begin’.”

Once the wreath has been brought out, a troupe of Polish female dancers will come out and perform.

There will also be a raffle drawing for various gift baskets at the festival.

Traditional Polish foods will be available to eat at the festival as well. There will be pierogi, golabki, kapusta, and kielbasa, among other things. Some Polish foods, such as pierogis, are known for having a lengthy process to make them. Pulled pork was being prepared for the kapusta Friday afternoon, two days before the festival.

In addition to the festival, St. Joseph’s Church will also be holding a remembrance for the Sept. 11 attacks at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Soltysiak said that it should be attended by Mayor Brian P. Sullivan and some of Westfield’s first responders. The 18th anniversary of the attacks is on Wednesday.

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