By Mia Summerson firstname.lastname@example.org
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NORTH TONAWANDA — “Dom Polski” translates to Polish Home, and Dom Polski Club on Oliver Street is considered to be like home to much of the area’s Polish population.
The bar is also the home of one of North Tonawanda’s biggest Polish celebrations. The Monday after Easter is known in the Polish community as Dyngus Day, a celebration of spring and fertility.
“It’s the end of Lent and the beginning of spring,” explains Dom Polski President, Cathy Brachmann. “Monday is like an extension of the Easter celebration and in Poland it lasts all week. The tradition is all about flirting.”
Buffalo is home to one of the largest Dyngus Day celebrations in the United States. For the past 40 years, Dom Polski’s has been bringing the party to the Tonawandas. It has become quite an event and according to Brachmann, it sells out very quickly.
For the first time this year, the bar is splitting up the party into an afternoon and an evening session, so that revelers who might not want to be out so late can stop by, eat, dance and call it a day. Then the night crowd can come in and have their turn.
To celebrate Dyngus Day properly, boys are supposed to express their interest in the girls they like by dumping water on them and playfully hitting them with pussy willow branches. Unfortunately there has been a shortage of pussy willows this year, probably because of the weather, according to Brachmann.
The flirting ritual is just a small part of the tradition upheld at Dom Polski’s. The really important part is to celebrate with friends and family.
“It’s all about tradition,” says Kathy Piorkowski-Carr, who, along with her band, will be performing traditional Polish music during both sessions of the party. “It’s wild how the crowd keeps that tradition going.”
Carr has been performing as a singer at the party for the past two decades. She took over the show about five years ago after her father Matt Piorkowski decided to step down. She says the usual set list includes traditional Polish polkas and waltzes with some pop tunes sprinkled in.
“What makes (the party) fun is seeing all the smiles on people’s faces,” Carr said. “You get a mixture of ages out on the dance floor, from toddlers to folks in their 90s. They dance together, they’re all smiling, it’s good clean fun.”
Admission to the afternoon session is $10. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. A traditional Polish buffet will be served and the band will play from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Admission to the evening session is $12. Food will be served from 5 to 7 p.m. and music will start at 6 p.m. Dom Polski’s is located at 576 Oliver St. For more information, call 692-8327.Contact reporter Mia Summerson at 693-1000, ext. 4313.