Kansas City has a wide variety of ethnic restaurants, but not so many representing the Eastern European community. There have been Croatian, Hungarian and Russian restaurants over the years that have come and gone, including the old Jennie's restaurant near Strawberry Hill in Kansas City, Kansas, which served Croatian dishes. (The mother of former Kansas City, Kansas, Mayor Carol Marinovich, used to work there.)
But if many of the children and grandchildren of the Eastern European immigrants who settled in Kansas City, Kansas, have moved out of the area, they return at least once a year for Polski Day, when the women in the parish hall of All Saints Church at Eighth and Vermont start serving traditional Polish dishes. This year's Polski Day will be held on Saturday, May 7, from noon to 7 p.m.
This year the festival organizers say they will be serving more than a thousand cabbage rolls, 1,500 pierogi, 220 pounds of sauerkraut, and will grill 350 pounds of Polish sausage.
The secret to getting into the food line early, confesses Cathy Kolenda-Smith -- the president of the Polski Day celebration -- is to get a place in line before the parade begins at noon. It's easier to get a parking place in the neighborhood this way, too, because after the parade -- which begins at 18th and Central and proceeds to the church -- creates a chaotic rush to get into the parish hall and get a plate of food.
The Polish festival will also include live musical performances, a raffle, Polish gift items for sale, and at 4 p.m., a Polka Mass in the church, which sounds like a most festive religious event.