Music at PolishFest 2017

Most Polish festivals are all about the Polka, Polka, Polka, and while there will be plenty of live polka music at PolishFest, we are excited to offer a broad mix of musical genres.  From hot “Disco Polo” to a Chopin piano recital, from a rousing pan-Slavic string concert to classical guitar, PolishFest will provide a diverse sampling of music from central Europe. In addition to our headlining performers, we’ll have DJ Caroline Kurkowski on Friday night and strolling violins on Sunday.

Trumpeter Of Krakow

Hourly bugle call from the tower of St Mary’s Church in Krakow Every full hour a golden trumpet shows above Krakow’s central Grand Square in the west window just below the spire of the higher tower of the Basilica of the Virgin Mary's. Then a characteristic signal trumpet melody, known and dear to every Pole, resounds all over the city’s Old Town historical district. All of a sudden music comes to an abrupt end. Next the same bugle call is played towards the east, the south and the north. At noon the whole ritual is broadcast on the Polish national radio.


The Krakow signal bugle call, or Hejnal Mariacki, dates back to the Middle Ages  when it was announcing the opening and the closing of the city gates. The bugler also played it to alarm his fellow citizens whenever he saw a fire or the enemy forces. And the melody abrupt ending is said to commemorate a trumpeter from Krakow who was shot through his throat by a Tatar archer in 1241 when the Mongols besieged the city.

Chef John Kowalski

Chef Kowalski will show you how to make plain, cheddar cheese and jalapeño kielbasa 

PolishFest is proud to have award winning Culinary Institute of America professor and author Chef John Kowalski, providing a kielbasa making demonstration. Chef Kowalski has been chef at the Publick House Restaurant, Sturbridge, MA, and La Côte Basque, NYC. His awards include Faculty Member of the Year, CIA, 2010, the Marc L. Sarrazin Cup (CIA team), Grand Prize, Salon of Culinary Arts, NYC, 2003, 1997, 1996, the First Prize for Cooking, Salon of Culinary Arts, NYC, 1995 and many others. Chef Kowalski’s demonstration will be on Friday, June 3, at 6pm in the demo tent.


Chef Kowalski is also the author of The Art of Charcuterie avaiable at

Cooking Demonstrations with Laura and Pete Zeranski

Learn to make classic Polish recipes with Laura and Pete in our Demonstration Tent.  Buy their cook books in the Vendor Hall! Laura & Pete Zeranski are a husband-and-wife team that has been cooking and eating classic Polish food together for almost forty years. Peter was born in Europe to parents that were born and raised in Poland and emigrated west soon after World War II.  Peter’s mother, Alina Zeranska, wrote The Art of Polish Cooking in 1968, which served as the foundation of the family's love for Polish food.


Laura married into the family in 1973 and learned to cook Polish dishes from her mother-in-law.  As Peter’s parents grew older, Laura took over the preparation of hundreds of Sunday family dinners and special holiday celebrations such as Christmas Eve and Easter. The recipes she prepares today are essentially the same as those prepared in Poland by Peter’s grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents.


Laura and Pete reside in Virginia near their daughter Christina, son-in-law BJ, and granddaughter Lucy Elisabeth, who all share an interest in Poland, Polish culture, and classic Polish cuisine.  They were first in line to taste and comment as the recipes were being tested.


Polish Genealogy Seminar with John Szypulski

Local genealogist, John Szypulski, will lead a seminar reviewing internet databases and resources, and other sources and methods for researching your Polish ancestry.  The focus this year will be on  An informational handout will be provided. 

Eryk Jadaszewski will be exhibiting Polish Hussar armor and giving talks about the Hussars in the Demonstration Tent. Since 2002, Eryk Jadaszewski has been helping living historians and re-enactors develop 16th, 17th and 18th century Eastern European kits consisting of period arms, armor and clothing. His specialty is the colorful and famous Winged Hussar knights of the 'Old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.' He also construct kits for a wide variety of other Central and Eastern European warriors for folks around the world.  Over the years he has developed good relationships with craftspeople, tailors and boot makers in the US, Poland, Ukraine and Belarus and other countries. 

Polish Hussar Historical Exhibition

Tony’s Polka Band

Tony’s Polka Band, our Saturday headliner, has built a repertoire of music more diverse than any other polka band in the business. With an original blend of music consisting of Eastern, Honky, German, Chicago, and New England style polkas with the influence of Country, Disco, Pop, Latin, and Rock, Tony’s Polka Band delights audiences of all ages and any culture.


Tony’s Polka Band is the 1st place winner of the 2003 Best Polka Band Competition held at the American Accordionists’ Association Convention in Philadelphia, PA. The band has wowed audiences with their high energy performances all across the country including appearances in: Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Pittsburg, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Syracuse, Albany, Long Island, Wildwood, Providence, and even the Caribbean Isles.


Tony’s Polka Band has shared the stage and billing with such artists as: The Jimmy Sturr Orchestra, Polka Family Band, Eddie Blazoncyck’s Versatones, Eddie Biegaj, Polka Freak-Out, and Brave Combo, at premiere venues including: the MSC Opera, Mohegan Sun Casino, Mount Airy Casino, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Great New York State Fair, Wildwood Convention Center, and were featured several times on te levision music series including WVIA’s “Pennsylvania Polka,” and WSKG’s “Let’s Polka!”

The Rymanowski Brothers Orchestra

The Rymanowski Brothers Orchestra, our Sunday headliner, is renowned in the Capital District of New York State. Their legacy started in late 1947 in Cohoes NY by brothers John and Alex and has sustained continuance to the present day. This distinction has given them the title of the Capital District’s most favorite, longest running, Polish-American Polka Band. In addition, undoubtedly, one of the longest running bands in the nation. The band expanded to a eight and nine piece orchestra in 1949. During the late 1940's and through the 1950's, they recorded on the Lamb, Decca and Stella Record label. In the late 1960's and early 1970's, John’s sons, Dennis and Gerry joined the band at which time was scaled down to a five and six piece group. In 1974 the band recorded an LP entitled, “We Believe In Polkas” Their last recording was in 1981. Their newest recording, “It’s About … TIME” was released in 2010 and was an immediate hit. With the CD hard to keep in stock, the demand is just overwhelming. Currently it is being aired on all Polish-American programs nationwide as well on all the internet stations worldwide.In their sixth decade as a “family band”, they’ve performed at just about every venue imaginable... from Weddings, Wedding Anniversaries, Polka Dances, Picnics, Festivals, as well as Radio and Television. The group, not only plays the best in Polka music, but have long been known to exhibit the versatility to play a wide variety of American Pop and American Standards to please just about everyone.

Polish/Slovak Easter Egg (Pisanki/ Kraslica) and Paper Cutting (Wycinanki) Demonstrations

Join Slovak-American teen, Sonia Susi, and Polish-American teen, Grace Alberti, in the school room as they demonstrate some of our most beloved Slavic crafts, egg decorating and paper cutting. You will have the opportunity to try your hand at these activities as part of the demonstration.

Capital District Council for Young Musicians Chopin Piano Concert

Winners of the 2015 Capital District Council for Young Musicians, Inc. (CDCYM) Annual Chopin Piano Competition will perform a Chopin Piano Concert on Saturday, June 4, at 2:30 PM. For more information on CDCYM and the 2015 competition winners, please visit the CDCYM web site:

Slavic Folk Music String Concert

Slovak-American, Tania Susi, BM, MM, The Juilliard School, has travelled the world performing classically as a soloist and chamber musician. She has performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall in NYC to Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan. On Sunday, June 5, at 1 PM, with her daughter, Sonia Susi, Tania will share a program of Slavic folk music from many Eastern European countries. Tania’s full biography can be found at the Spa City Duo web site:

The History of Poland through the Polish Eagle

Katherine Alberti, BA Slavic Studies (UT Austin), has created a historical exhibit that will be on display throughout PolishFest exploring the history of Poland through the evolution of the Polish eagle emblem. Katherine will be discussing the exhibit on Friday, June 3, from 6 PM to 8 PM and Sunday, June 5 from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM.

Jan and Zofia Styka Art Exhibit

PolishFest is proud to present an exhibit of art donated by the family of philanthropist and friend of Polish Culture, Dr. John A. Cetner, upon his death.  The exhibit contains a work by notable Polish painter, Jan Styka, and several pieces painted by his daughter, Zofia Styka. The significant painting, “Madonna,” will be on display. This painting is one of a group of paintings by Jan Styka illustrating scenes from “Quo Vadis”, a novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz. The date of this painting is unknown, but it was purchased from Janina Styka, Jan’s widow, in 1939 by Edward Witkowski and given as a gift to Dr. Cetner in 1971.

St. Adalbert’s Dancers

PolishFest is pleased to welcome back St. Adalbert’s Dancers. They are a troupe that performs both traditional Polish dances and contemporary polkas.  Like them on Facebook (Saint Adalbert's Dancers) or contact them at [email protected]