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A Labor Day institution, Czestochowa Polish American Festival celebrates 50th anniversary

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STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN 
bbingaman@thereporteronline.com
@brianbingaman on Twitter

Over the years it’s created an unexpected traffic jam, drawn out-of-state visitors, and even been visited by a U.S. President.
The 50th annual Polish American Family Festival & Country Fair is held two consecutive weekends from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 5-7 and Sept. 12-13. Just as it was in 1965, it’ll be held on the grounds of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, which is also a Polish-American Catholic parish and Polish cultural school, at 654 Ferry Road in New Britain Township.
According to www.polishamericanfestival.org, the festival began as a simple picnic for volunteers, and their families and friends, during the year of the shrine’s dedication. It was expanded to a broader ethnic celebration/old-fashioned country fair by Dr. Raymond Chase and his wife, Virginia, along with Father Michael Zembruski, the founder of the shrine, which features a replica of a Polish national holy relic.
Who was the President that stopped by? Ronald Reagan, who enjoyed a placki (potato pancakes) on the festival grounds, according to the festival website. The other Polish and American fare you can nosh on include pierogies, grilled and steamed kielbasa, golabki, burgers, cheesesteaks, barbecue chicken, funnel cakes, chicken fingers and beer (you’ll need ID that shows proof of age).
New to this year’s festival will be classic cars from the Road Angels of Doylestown Street Rod Club. There are also some new entertainers this year.
Here’s the schedule at a glance:
Saturday, Sept. 5
Walt Wagner and the Polka Serenaders, noon to 4 p.m. (Main Stage).
DJ Joe Narodowski, noon to 4 p.m. (Village Stage).
The Boys, 4 to 8 p.m. (Main Stage).
Goralsi (from Poland), 5 to 10 p.m. (Village Stage).
Dzianiszanie (from Chicago), throughout the day.
Jedliniok Polish Folk Dance Ensemble (from Poland), throughout the day.
Sunday, Sept. 6
DJ Grzegorz, noon to 4 p.m. (Village Stage).
The Tamburitzans, 1 to 3 p.m. (Main Stage).
John Gora and Korona, 4 to 8 p.m. (Main Stage).
Goralsi, 5 to 10 p.m. (Village Stage).
Dzianiszanie, throughout the day.
Jedliniok Polish Folk Dance Ensemble, throughout the day.
Labor Day
John Gora and Gorale, noon to 4 p.m. (Main Stage).
DJ Grzegorz, 2 to 6 p.m. (Village Stage).
Tony Blazonczyk’s New Phaze, 4 to 4:30 p.m. (Main Stage).
Jedliniok Polish Folk Dance Ensemble, throughout the day.
Saturday, Sept. 12
Dennis Polisky and the Maestro’s Men, noon to 4 p.m. (Main Stage).
DJ Joe Narodowski, noon to 4 p.m. (Village Stage).
Polka Family, 4 to 8 p.m. (Main Stage).
Effect Band, 5 to 10 p.m. (Village Stage).
Sunday, Sept. 13
Polish American String Band, 12:45 to 2:30 p.m. (Village Stage).
Pectus (from Poland), 2 to 5 p.m. (Main Stage).
T.K.O., 4 to 8 p.m. (Village Stage).
If you missed them at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Give and Take Jugglers will be part of the entertainment at the Polish American festival.
Additional attractions include midway rides and games; the festival’s 22nd annual Craft Show, with jewelry, quilts, dolls, toys, decorations, bags, children’s clothes and more; a Polish wedding and Dozynki harvest festival; a Polish Village and medieval and World War II reenactors.
Admission is $12. An additional cost is required for the thrill rides.
Follow the festival on Twitter at @PolAmFest and visit the shrine’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Shrine-of-Our-Lady-of-Czestochowa-Doylestown-PA.

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