The Polish community returns to Port Coquitlam this month for its first festival since 2019.
And it will bring a wealth of support for its neighbours in war-torn Ukraine by raising money for humanitarian efforts and celebrating that country’s arts and culture as well.
Organized by the Polonez Tri-City Polish Association, the 15th annual BC Polish Festival takes place on Sunday, May 29 at Leigh Square, next to city hall, and runs from 1 to 9 p.m., ending with an outdoor dance party for the family.
Hana Kostka, the association’s vice president, told the Tri-City News the group wanted to put the spotlight on Ukraine because “we feel for them.”
“Many Polish people are hosting refugees in their home, so this is a good opportunity to do something and help them with whatever they need," she said.
The fundraiser will come through the Polish Artists for Ukraine art auction in the Gathering Place at Leigh Square, which includes more than 40 works for sale from such well-known artists as:
- Agata Teodorowicz, a native of Zakopane and Coquitlam resident who is a longtime teacher at PoMoArts in Port Moody
- Dominik Modlinski, a B.C. landscape painter who was born in Warsaw
There will be plenty of Polish fare, too: pirogies, BBQ sausages, Hunter’s stew, potato pancakes, ham hocks and cakes, to name a few dishes. A fenced off beer garden will serve Polish beverages.
A craft marketplace will also be set up for shoppers to purchase handmade and artisanal wares and enter into a raffle.
As well, there will be entertainment on the bandshell stage including from the Dovbush Ukrainian Dancers, the Parno Drom gypsy music band, the Polonez folk dance ensemble and the White Eagle Band from Victoria.
Hey Ziuta and Slovak Sound will cap off the evening with a dance party from 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Kostka said the fest typically attracts about 2,000 revellers from around Metro Vancouver who want to reconnect with their Polish heritage.
And, luckily, “in 14 years, we’ve never had any rain," she said.
"We want to welcome people and make sure they have a good time.”
There is no cost for admission. Volunteers are needed for set up at 8:30 a.m. on May 29, and craft vendors can apply for a table via poloneztri-city.org. The festival is sponsored by the City of Port Coquitlam and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland.