Polish festival sets attendance records
With Roncesvalles fixed, show can — and does — go on
North America’s largest Polish festival had a record-setting return to Roncesvalles this September after taking the year off in 2010 due to road repairs.
An estimated 250,000 people took in the sights, sounds and tastes of Polish culture.
“It was a fantastic weekend,” said Keith Denning, coordinator of the Roncesvalles Village BIA, which helped organize the event.
“Everybody was having fun, the music was great and we had no problems.”
Polka bands and traditional Polish folklore dance groups from across Canada and the United States took part in the parade and perform on six stages of the sixth-annual festival.
The event began as a simple harvest festival but became the Roncesvalles Polish Festival in 2005.
“Part of the reason for that was to help celebrate the Polish heritage of our neighbourhood,” he said.
“And to acknowledge the fact that Roncesvalles Village, which is very diverse, is Toronto’s Little Poland.”
This year, the event was as much about promoting the newly revitalized Roncesvalles Village as it was Polish culture.
“We had many tens of thousands of people coming to Roncesvalles and they all saw that construction is over on our street and we’re back in business,” Denning said.
“We want the whole city to know that and we want them all to check out Roncesvalles.”
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