My adventurous friend Christina informed me last summer that I had missed the most amazing festival of all time. This year, I won’t be left out. We are trekking north to Whiting, IN, for the 3-day spectacle of buttery goodness and boozy northerners that is Pierogi Fest. Here is her analysis of the event from 2013.
“A few years ago, I made a trip to Poland specifically to purchase some pottery and eat some pierogi. This was a different time in my life, when I had the time and money for grand adventures. Luckily for me, Whiting, Indiana’s Pierogi Fest easily satisfies my craving for all things Polish. Held each year on the last full weekend in July, it is one of the wackiest and most delicious fests I have attended. Here’s the rundown:
First, the food. Obviously, the darling of the fest is the pierogi. For those sad individuals unfamiliar with the deliciousness that is the pierogi, it is a small dumpling filled with things like potato, cheese (which is sweet, like a dessert!), meat, and sauerkraut. While all are delicious, my favorite is always potato. And actually…I lied because I hate sauerkraut, so I usually try to trade with a family member when they aren’t looking.
Polish food goes way beyond the pierogi to include dishes such as Golabki (stuffed cabbage), Placki (potato pancakes), Kielbasa (a type of sausage) and desserts like Chrusciki (bow tie cookies). If this is your first time trying Polish food, I highly recommend getting one of the sampler plates. At less than $10, it is easily big enough to share with a friend or two. Or you could be like my father and order four of them. Either way.
In terms of deliciousness, everything was pretty good. Could the pierogi have been a little crispier on the outside? Probably. Could the placki have been a little less greasy? Maybe. But considering that the fest attracts more than 200,000 visitors over the course of three days, I think they do a fantastic job. And if you aren’t a fan of Polish food, there are lots of booths selling standard fair/fest food.
Next up- the attractions! The biggest attraction is by far the very crowded, all-things-Polish parade held on Friday night. I wasn’t able to make it this year, but I can tell you that it’s hilarious, especially if your family is Polish. This year I witnessed a dunk tank for nuns, European dance groups, and a whole lot of polka. Even the signs are clever.
So, this weekend, grab your stretchy pants and get your dupa up to Northwest Indiana for a novel take on the small-town festival.”