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Polish-American Arts Festival - Cheektowaga NY
Polonia Music
Welcome to the world of Polish heritage music!

In 2005 archaeologists with the Coastal Heritage Society and the LAMAR 
Institute discovered portions of the British fortifications at Spring Hill. The brunt of the combined French and American attack on October 9, 1779, was focused at that point. The find represents the first tangible remains of the battlefield. In 2008 the CHS/LAMAR Institute archaeology team discovered another segment of the British fortifications in Madison Square.

Casimir Pulaski Day is a holiday observed in Illinois on the first Monday of every March in memory of Casimir Pulaski (March 6, 1745 – October 11, 1779), a Revolutionary War cavalry officer born in Poland as Kazimierz Pułaski. He is known for his contributions to the U.S. military in the American Revolution by training its soldiers and cavalry.

The day is celebrated mainly in areas that have large Polish populations, such as Chicago. The focus of official commemorations of Casimir Pulaski Day in Chicago is at the Polish Museum of America where various city and state officials congregate to pay tribute to Chicago's Polish Community.

This is a separate holiday from the federal holiday, General Pulaski Memorial Day, which commemorates Pulaski's death from wounds suffered at the Siege of Savannah on October 9, 1779.

Illinois enacted a law on June 20, 1977, to celebrate the birthday of Casimir Pulaski and held the first official Pulaski Day celebrations in 1978. The bill was introduced by State Senator Leroy W. Lemke, a Democrat from Chicago. Chicago Public Schools, Cook County government offices, the Chicago Public Library, Springfield Public Schools, and state-wide public and private schools close on this holiday.

Buffalo, New York also celebrates" Pulaski Day, at a time of the year unrelated to either the Chicago-Wisconsin regional holiday or the October memorial day. The Buffalo Pulaski Day is held in the middle of July, and is celebrated with an annual parade just east of the city in suburban Cheektowaga, New York.

History of the Annual Cheektowaga Polish-Amercian Arts Festival and General Pulaski Parade

In 1978, New York Governor, Hugh Carey was present at the opening ceremonies for a  new outdoor amphitheater, which had been built in Cheektowaga Town Park with the assistance of state funding. Armed with the knowledge that nearly half of the town's 100,000 residents claimed some degree of Polish decent, he exclaimed, " Wouldn't this center be a wonderful place to host a Polish-Amercan festival!" That comment would eventually change the summer season for Western New York's Polish community.

  The chairman of the Town's Park and Recreation Committee, Frank Swiatek, took the Governor's lead and transformed an annual concert of Polish-American music, part of the Town's Summer Concert Series, into a three-day extravaganza featuring traditional folk art, crafts, foods, dance and music. Frank Swiatek served as the festival's first chairman followed by Councilman William Rogowski and Supervisor Dennis Grabryszak, who has served the longest as chairman.

In 1986. the Festival and the Town of Cheektowaga received the Dorothy Mullen National Arts and Humanities Award, which is given annually in recognition of the most innovative and effective arts and humanities programs across the nation. The national winners of the Dorothy Mullen awards are judged on content, innovation, quality, contribution to the community served and expansion of interest in the arts and humanities.

 In 2007, the Cheektowaga Polish-American Festival Committee was honored by the Am-Pol Eagle newspaper in the category of Community Organizations for their dedicated efforts in planning and organizing New York State's premier ethnic festival for the past twenty-nine years.

Following former Supervisor Frank Swiatek and Councilman William Rogowski as festival chairman, was Dennis H.. Grabryszak. The Festival became more diversified, adding premiere musical and dance entertainment. Additionally, the Pulaski Day parade was transferred from Buffalo and became a Sunday feature. When Supervisor Dennis H. Grabryszak was elected, a member of the New York State Assembly, Supervisor James J. Jankowiak became the festival chairman. Enjoying her third year (2010) as chairwoman of the Festival is Cheektowaga Town Supervisor, Mary, F. Holtz.

Each year, enthusiastic guests arrive from Rochester, Syracuse, Corning, Elmira, Erie and Punxsatawney (Pennsylvania), St. Catharine's, Hamilton, Burlington, Toronto and Ontario, Canada. The Harmony Polish Ensemble of Cheektowaga, and the Polish Heritage Dancers are always a big hit.

NOTE: The above text (History of the Annual Cheektowaga Polish-Amercian Arts Festival and General Pulaski Parade) was adopted from the festival program distributed at the 32nd Annual Cheektowaga Polish-American Arts Festival in 2010.
General Pulaski Memorial Day is a United States holiday in honor of General Kazimierz Pułaski (spelled Casimir Pulaski in English), a Polish hero of the American Revolution. This holiday is held every year on October 11 by Presidential Proclamation, to commemorate his death from wounds suffered at the Siege of Savannah on October 9, 1779 and to honor the heritage of Polish Americans. The observance was established in 1929 when Congress passed a resolution (Public Resolution 16 of 1929) designating October 11 as General Pulaski Memorial Day. Every President has issued a proclamation for the observance annually since (except in 1930).

 This is separate holiday from the regional holiday in the Chicago area titled Casimir Pulaski Day that commemorates Pulaski's birth on March 4, 1746.

Regional celebrations
New York City has an annual Pulaski Day Parade and Grand Rapids, Michigan holds Pulaski Days at this time. Some areas with large Polish-American populations instead celebrate Casimir Pulaski Day on the first Monday of every March, marking Pulaski's March 4, 1746 birth. Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana have state recognition of this holiday, which is particularly popular in Chicago and Milwaukee.

 General Pulaski's Day is a holiday recognized by the state of Kentucky, United States "in commemoration of the death of revolutionary General Casimir Pulaski". General Pulaski's Day is observed on October 11 of every year in Kentucky. General Pulaski's Day was created by a statute enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly sometime prior to 1942.

History of the battle and Pulaski's role
 The Siege of Savannah was an encounter of the American Revolutionary War in 1779. The year before, the city of Savannah, Georgia had been captured by a British expeditionary corps under Lieutenant-Colonel Archibald Campbell. The siege itself consisted of a joint Franco-American attempt to retake Savannah from September 16, 1779 to October 18, 1779. On October 9, 1779, a major assault against the British siege works failed. During the attack, Polish Count Kazimierz Pułaski, fighting on the American side, was mortally wounded. With the failure of the joint American-French attack, the siege failed, and the British remained in control of Georgia until July 1782, close to the end of the war.

The battle is much remembered in Haitian history; the Fontages Legion, consisting of over 500 gens de couleur—free men of color from Saint-Domingue—fought on the French side. Henri Christophe, who later became king of independent Haiti, is thought to have been among these troops.

Pulaski Day Parade
Since World War II WNY-ers every year have been honoring with a parade the man who once saved George Washington’s life. Given that Casimir Pulaski has been dubbed the “Father of the American Cavalry”, be a few horses will be included in the annual festive procession known as the Pulaski Parade. 
A skilled military commander Pulaski was recruited by Benjamin Franklin for service to America, where his regimented training skills helped Geopge Washington turn a ragtag group of citizen militia into a force that eventually overcame British rule and led to the independence of the US. He gave his life for our freedom at the battle of Savannah in 1779 and became a hero not only for America but for Polonia as well.
Until 12 years ago the yearly ritual included marching down Broadway through the vibrant Broadway-Fillmore business district. As the area underwent a demographic shift as prevalent throughout the urban area of the Northeast, the Cheektowaga Polish American Arts Festival offered to make this commemoration a part of their fête as the festival was gaining momentum.

Originally scheduled in mid-October, the Pulaski parade made a great campaign stop for politicians seeking to gain attention for upcoming elections. Some memorable appearances over the years were Nelson Rockefeller, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford and the iconic John F. Kennedy back in 1962. 

General George Washington standing with Johann De Kalb, Baron von Steuben, Kazimierz Pulaski, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, Lafayette, John Muhlenberg, and other officers during the Revolutionary War. From Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Die helden der revolution
 [between 1850-1890] 1 print. Girsch, Frederick, 1821-1895, artist.
 General Washington standing with Johann De Kalb, Baron von Steuban,
 Kazimierz Pulaski, Tadeusz, Lafayette, John Mulenberg, and other officers
 during the Revolutionary War.
 from Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.
 Reproduction #: LC-USZC4-3359(color film copy transparency) 

40th Annual Cheektowaga Polish-American Arts Festival 
July 20-22, 2018
 The 40th Annual Polish American Arts Festival
In honor of Poland celebrating the 100th anniversary of regaining its Independence, Niagara Falls will be illuminated white and red in honor of Poland. This event will be just one of the very special events that will take place during the weekend of Friday July 20th to Sunday July 22nd. The 100th Anniversary of Poland's Independence Gala will take place on Saturday July 21st at Samuel's Grande Manor, the 80th Annual General Pulaski Parade on Sunday July 22nd at 1:30PM in Cheektowaga from Walden Ave. down Harlem Rd. ending in front of Cheektowaga Town Park. Many honored guests and people from around the world will be in town to take part in the festivities. Please tell your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers about this once in a lifetime weekend for our area and what will be the biggest celebration for Poland's 100th anniversary of regaining it's independence outside of Poland.
Waiting for the parade to start.
The Dyngusmobile
Polonez from Hamilton, Ontario
The Polish Happy People Hour Float
Fr. Ted w/ balloons
More balloon fun!
Polonez dancers from Hamilton, ON
I want this car!
Some of the grand marshals
I want this one too!
What is Pulaski Day and when is it celebrated?

Parade (2016)
Towpath Fife and Drum from Macedon, New York
Loretta Swit
Keep calm. Fr. Ted is still here.
Corky got tanked again!
Looking for treble? 
POLSKA Guitar Strap
$20.00 / Free Shipping!

Polish folk dancers are the nicest people!
Thanks for taking my picture, Joe Rej!
WIVB - Channel 4 
is a longtime sponsor of this event.
Pułaski Parade Video
Here are some the 39th Annual Cheektowaga Polish Festival Polish American Arts Festival highlights: 
General Władysław Anders Memorial
The National Shrine of
Our Lady of Częstochowa
2018  festival photos and videos are HERE