When I was growing up, kielbasi was a "holiday food". Easter dinner, Christmas breakfast...I don't remember it making an appearance at that all-American holiday: Thanksgiving. When I married and the kielbasi fairy (my parents) started leaving kielbasi in my freezer I discovered there's a lot more to do with kielbasi than use it as a substitute for bacon at a holiday breakfast. Summers brought kielbasi cooked on the grill to make kielbasi sandwiches and fall brought pasta topped with kielbasi fried up with fresh spinach, onions, garlic and apples with a generous dose of cinnamon. Sounds weird but...YUM!
If you need proof that kielbasi isn't just for holidays anymore stop by the annual Kielbasi Festival in Shenandoah this Saturday, May 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The three biggees will be there with samples: Kowalonek's , Capital Foods and Lucky's Deli, not to mention all the amateur kielbasi makers who will be vying to win the trophy for the best kielbasi. And what do you think of when you hear the word kielbasi? OK, horseradish. But after that...that's right, pierogies. Mrs. T's will of course be supporting this hometown festival by bringing their pierogies.
When you're done filling your belly you can listen to some polka music and enjoy some arts and crafts vendors, including ethnic crafts (Matruska dolls are my favorite). There will be games and activities for the kids and tours of the Greater Shenandoah Historical Society and the Schuylkill County Historical Fire Society Museum.
Not a kielbasi fan...I know, I'm as shocked as you. But if not, why not try the Anthracite Heritage Festival? It starts on Friday, May 27 with a parade in Shamokin. The parade will form on Water Street at 5 p.m. and start at 6 p.m. going down Independence and Market Streets. The theme is "Local History" and will be offering prizes for most decorative/creative, best dressed/costumes and best of show. Call 570-648-9500 for more information or register at the first National Bank of Shamokin, 10 S. Market Street.
On Saturday, May 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. there will be all sorts of fun. Performers will be on the stage throughout the day: musicians, drummers, even belly dancers! There will be cemetery tours at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ($10) as well as local church tours. If the tours tires you out you can rest your feet with a train ride -- 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. ($10), a horse and carriage ride ($5 for adults/$3 for children) or a trolley ride ($5 for adults/$3 for children). On the street you can enjoy artists at work, a butterfly habitat, pony rides, old movies of Shamokin, model railroad displays, food vendors, street entertainers and more. Quite a day packed with fun!