Father Denis Janicki O.F.M. Conv., Pastor of St. Stanislaus Parish called for a meeting in one of the school classrooms in May of 1982. He opened the discussion with the idea of having a parish festival. In the past, the parish had a picnic off grounds, however. he wanted something different for the parish where we could all get together and have fun.
In the beginning, this was not planned as a fundraiser for the parish. It was discussed and planned that we would open the festival with an outdoor mass beginning at 10:00AM and after the mass the festival would begin.
The plan was to have music and entertainment throughout the whole day, various games for adults and children rides for the children, a Polish sausage and sauerkraut dinner in the school hall, a variety of Polish sandwiches outside, pop, beer and wine, and ice cream. We also had an arts and crafts, bingo, Polish culture areas, and a novelty booth selling a variety of Polish Fest items.
The date everyone decided on was the third Sunday in August which gave the parish less than 12 weeks to get all this prepared. After about the third meeting, we named this event the St. Stanislaus Polish Fest. Once the posters and media picked up this event, we realized that this was going to be bigger than most people imagined. We told everyone selling food to make sure they had plenty of food and not to run out. Thanks to a small group of parishioners and the support of the entire parish, this was accomplished and was the biggest fundraiser the parish ever had.
The second year we started planning before year end to line up polka bands and dancers plus we added a $500.00 College Scholarship awarded to a parishioner based on need. In 2002 we added the Boylan Tuition Assistance Program, based on need, for families in our parish. We have increased the college scholarship over the years. It is now $1.000.00. Everyone has asked what the parish uses this money for. We have had to purchase various items for the Polish Fest to complay with health regulations, like a large stainless steel refrigerator, electric, cookers, tables and chairs. Once we had enough money set aside, the first thing the parish did was to pay off the parish debt with the Rockford Diocese.
Since then the profits have been used to install two new roofs on the church and school buildings. After the school closed, we remodeled the school building to make it more energy efficient, by converting to natural gas for heating and by adding air conditioning. We repaved the parking lot and tuck pointed. A new piano and organ was purchased for the church. Recently we had to replace the water lines in the school building. Finally, when the contributions were not sufficient to meet the financial needs of the parish, we used Polish Fest funds to meet our expenses, especially in the last five years.
We would like to thank all the people of the parish as well as those no longer with us (father, mother, husband, wife, brother, sister, aunt, uncle and cousins who worked so hard to make this event what it is today), plus the friends of St. Stanislaus who help make our Polish Fest one the best festivals in our community. I am sure that Fr. Denis never dreamed that this event would become this big and be so successful year after year. Thanks to Fr. Denis for his vision and imagination, we have come a long way and now look forward to the next 25 years. I would like to thank all the people that have been connected with this event.
THANK YOU for your donations, your time, help and support in making this fest always successful.