Polish Festival Seattle – July 11

Please join us for Seattle Center Festál:  Polish Festival Seattle, showcasing vibrant Polish arts and crafts, savory and sweet pastries, live music and dance, 12 pm-8pm, Saturday, July 11, in Seattle Center Armory and Mural Amphitheatre.

The fourth annual Polish Festival Seattle honors the Podhale region, or Polish Highlands, in an activity-packed day of celebration. An exhibit of regional artifacts, performances of authentic regional music and dance, and tastings of oscypek (os-TSEH-peck), a smoked sheep’s milk cheese, showcase the traditions of the Górale (Highlanders) and the richness of the Tatra Mountains. The Chicago-based Górale folk ensemble Siumni, featuring musicians, dancers and singers, performs throughout the day.

Musical highlights include Paweł Chęciński playing the music of Chopin, a presentation of Polish folk songs by Vivat Musica!, Polish-American indie folk group Matt Strutynski Band, Knife in the Water jazz quartet, the accordionist Andy Mirkovich, and traditional Romani music performed by Parno Drom.

Małgorzata Staszewska, Młodzi Polanie, and Polonez Polish Canadian Dance Society present traditional and modern dance. Artists from Siumni and Parno Drom lead a dance workshop and contest, and live accordion music accompanies a polka contest to allow visitors to experience this spirited aspect of Polish culture.

Hands-on activities, workshops, and demonstrations cater to a range of ages and interests. Arts and crafts workshops include sessions on wycinanki (paper cutout art), reverse glass painting, and palemki (paper palm fronds traditionally used on Palm Sunday). The festival also offers cooking demonstrations on gołąbki (cabbage rolls), babka (lightly sweetened, yeast-risen bread), pickle soup, and the “easiest cake in the world.” Children may take part in craft projects, a drawing contest, story time, and screenings of Polish cartoons. All festival-goers may engage in a science presentation based on the experiments of Nobel Prize laureate Maria Sklodowska-Curie.

Polish glass art, hand-crafted Boleslawiec pottery, cookbooks, amber jewelry, crystal, linens, and other Polish arts and crafts are available in the Polish marketplace. Food vendors offer authentic specialties including pierogi, gołąbki, goulash, potato pancakes, bigos (hunter’s stew), pastries, and naleśniki (crepes with cheese filling and fruit sauce). A beer garden serves imported Polish beer and local wines.

Cultural and historical exhibits afford visitors an in-depth look at Polish heritage. A display of Polish folk costumes by local designer Barbara Niesulowski explores the traditions of Poland’s regions. Antek Haapasaari-Olpinski, a scholar of Polish military history, presents a collection that honors Poland’s role in World War II through military uniforms, equipment, books, and artwork. The book and animated documentary “A Trip to Nowhere” tells the story of a group of Seattle women coming to terms with the forced deportation of over a million Polish men, women, and children to Siberian labor camps during World War II. Other exhibits highlight the contributions of Polish pilots in World War II and the actions of ordinary citizens who fought for Poland’s freedom.

Seattle Center Festál is a program of Seattle Center Productions. Admission is free-of-charge. For more information on Polish Festival Seattle and other Seattle Center public programming, click on Seattle Center or call 206 684-7200.