Roll out the barrel!

Sights, sounds, tastes of Poland fill Clinton Square during festival

The 55th annual Polish Festival drew hundreds of Central New Yorkers to Clinton Square June 19 to 21 for food, fun and entertainment. Musical performers included local bands such as Verona's own Fritz's Polka Band, Grammy winner and Canastota resident Al Piatkowski and the Salt City Brass as well as nationally known musicians such as Lenny Gomulka and the Chicago Push.

In a whirlwind of sights, sounds and scents, Polish food as well as more American fare was served along with refreshments and desserts. Dance ensembles from Utica, Toronto and Montreal, Canada performed traditional dances.

Vendors sold everything from jewelry and T-shirts to Polish Flags and ceramics. A children's tent offered crafts and face painting for the younger crowd.

A clear Friday night was followed by a rainy Saturday, which brought out umbrella-wielding folks dancing to the beat and enjoying the festival's food and wares.

Sunday dawned with better weather, a bigger crowd and the crowning of Sonia Siok as Miss Polonia 2009. Born in Poland, Siok is in the top 3 percent of her class at Liverpool High School, where she is president of the Science Olympiad, treasurer of the Spanish Club and a member of the National Honor Society. She plans to attend college, pursuing a degree in bioengineering and international relations studies.

During the festival the Polish Scholarship Fund announced its 2009 scholarship recipients: Agnieszka Bak, Beth Bentz, Matthew Filmer, Aneta K. Guzda and Barbara Koziol. Over the past 55 years, the fund has awarded more than $290,000 in scholarships, helping about 400 students.

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