Youngstown Polish community celebrates 8th Polish American Heritage Day

The event was held in hopes of making the Youngstown community more aware of its Polish heritage

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – People danced to polka music, ate pierogies and played games at Saturday’s Polish American Heritage Day, held at St. Anne Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church in Austintown.

The day was Polish Youngstown’s 8th event, and this year they focused on history and heritage more than ever, by having classes on Polish history, language and culture.

“We have three bands and a contest and a whole museum of activities and hands-on crafts and a whole children’s section this year, so we’re excited,” said Aundrea Cika Heschmeyer, director of Polish Youngstown.

But the food was out in full force.

“Our favorite, pierogie, as well as, we have stuffed cabbage, cabbage and noodles, all the things that people think of as authentically Polish,” Heschmeyer said.

The group even brought historical reenactors to teach people about the Polish cavalry.

“I’m going to be giving a little bit of a history presentation for anybody who wants it. I’ll be dressing up in the armor a little bit later,” said Michael Ostrowski, a Polish reenactor.

And it’s all in the name of Polish pride and having fun.

“Well, it’s about sharing our enthusiasm for our culture with the broader community, but frankly, more importantly, with the young people in our community,” Heschmeyer said.

“Come here, let loose, have a drink, do a little dancing, have some food, relax a little bit,” Ostrowski said.

A candlelight mass, which paid tribute to Catholic tradition in Poland, was also held later on in the night.

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