Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Culture: Roncesvalles Polish Festival

Viewed from beyond its north extent, the Roncesvalles Polish Festival stretched as far as the eye could see toward Lake Ontario in Toronto, Ontario on 20-September-2009

TORONTO, ONTARIO - For most of the past few years, the end of the summer street festival season has been marked by the Polish Festival on Roncesvalles. This year was only a little different, with the Roncesvalles Polish Festival and the nearby Ukrainian Festival running simultaneously on the last weekend of summer.

Children danced on one of several stages as a cover band performed "Island in the Sun" during the Roncesvalles Polish Festival on 20-September-2009

As with most themed Toronto street festivals, the Polish Festival was actually quite multi-cultural in nature, reflecting the character of Roncesvalles Avenue. On the stages spaced out about every block along the street, there was a mix of music which included classic rock'n'roll as well as Polka and even an opportunity to perform karaoke (well, without the lyrics display) of Polish folk music.

A young woman performed the vocals of a Polish folk song, backed up by DJ Andy Kruk during the Roncesvalles Polish Festival on 20-September-2009

The food was a similar mix. The longest lines formed at the traditional Polish vendors, but everything from Thai to Italian to hot dogs were available at booths run by local restaurants located along the street.

The perennial Supreme Pierogies booth saw substantial business during the Roncesvalles Polish Festival in Toronto on 20-September-2009

A normal smattering of gaming vendors lined the street with entertainment for children, and someone had even set up a five meter by five meter chess board on the street which was in constant use. Free handouts were relatively sparse, but balloons from the Polish Credit Union seemed to be attached to many strollers.

A representative from the Polish Credit Union passed out balloons during the Roncesvalles Polish Festival on 20-September-2009

It was hard to walk away from the Roncesvalles Polish Festival, knowing that the next opportunity to meander a normally-busy Toronto thoroughfare while eating ethnic food and enjoying live music would not come until next year.

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