Buffalo's Unique Holiday
By Marissa Packard
Wondering where the Dyngus Day capital of the world is? Look no further than right here in Buffalo! The day after Easter celebration, pre-Covid times, attracts many people to Buffalo for a post-Lentil celebration to show their Polish Pride. Pussy Willow, Polka Bands, Parades and Perogies all in one place, what more could you ask for?
So, you’re probably wondering where this celebration came from, well the Dyngus Day celebration in Buffalo is most notable and known for the largest continuing event commemorating this day. There aren’t people just celebrating in one place, from the parade route to the party at the Central Terminal to restaurants and bars, you can get your polka fix all over Buffalo. (I think for next year’s Dyngus day, there should be a polka crawl so we get to experience all the celebrations). This celebration started in the 1960s as an effort by the Polish-American community to find its own identity. I’d say that it was successful because 61 years later, the celebration has grown and is still just as popular. You’ll find people on the parade route touting their white and red colored outfits, their Polish flags and their balloons. Just like many heritage celebrations, there is an American twist to this Polish celebration.
The Broadway Market is an important piece to the puzzle when it comes to Dyngus day (along with the Easter season). There is a plethora of Polish vendors there so you’re able to get your Polish necessities all in one place. Babcia's Pierogi Company and Potts Deli and Grill are just some of the few names that come to mind this time of year. This beloved market in Buffalo is also opened all year round so if you’re searching for you polish fix over the summer, be sure to stop in.
There are many restaurants around Buffalo that have your Polish favorites if you’re looking to celebrate Dyngus Day this weekend with food, but were here to name a few. The Polish Villa, opened in 1978, is a family owned diner. They serve authentic polish food that are homemade to perfection. The menu is full of everything polish from Golabekto, Kielbasa to Perogies, you couldn’t go wrong with making a stop here for lunch or dinner any day of the week . The Polish Nook, located in Niagara Falls, is another place to get your polish fix this weekend. This family owned restaurant opened in 1964 and has kept its old-fashioned look and authentic polish food ever since. Today, it is run by the third generation but all of the meals are original as the day it opened.
Of course, everyone needs their dessert fix on a holiday, so why not check out these beloved Buffalo bakeries. Chrusciki Bakery, opened in 1980, is full of Polish sweets that will fulfill your taste buds. From Pacizki to Placek to Kolaczki, and to Chrusciki (of course!) you’ll be able to find Polish staples for your celebration. You can also get your Pierogi fix from here too. Another bakery, that is a first ward staple (yes, it isn’t all about the Irish in South Buffalo) is Mazurek's Bakery. They’ve been at their same location since 1933 and are still serving up Polish Styled baked goods. The original recipes, fresh quality and authenticity stills continues today. And if you’re looking for your Krupnik fix to wash down all the authentic Polish food, check out 42 North Brewing Company’s Krupnik Barrel Aged Quad. But be sure to pre-order your supply for this weekend if you’re in the market to try.
The iconic (to Buffalo) parade is still a go for this year with the ever-changing guidelines that the organizers are following. This year the event is pre-register that ends April 2 at 5:00 pm so if you’re looking to participate, don’t miss your chance! Social distancing guidelines will be followed so the event can go on safely. If you’re looking to see the parade in much of its glory, be sure to check out the Dyngus Day Facebook page or website to see the livestream of the event.
This polish celebration is a rare event across the nation and here in New York State but leave it to Buffalo to find an opportunity for a week day celebration. Recently, I’ve come across many people, from my college roommates to people from out of town, that havent heard about the Dyngus Day lore. Nobody has holiday traditions or celebrations like Buffalo. Looking forward to celebrating properly in 2022 to experience the atmosphere, until then I will live vicariously through Perogies and Krupnik.