ROCHESTER — The longest line at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish’s annual Polish Arts Festival Aug. 1 and 2 wasn’t for one of the carnival-style games set up on pathways outside the Hudson Avenue church, or the queue for a seat in the music tent.
Instead, it was the line for hot, cheese-filled pierogi, which were being purchased as fast as festival volunteers could make them.
Nearly as popular were the church tours conducted by parish historian Kathy Urbanic, who explained to crowds of people during the festival the significance of the church’s statues and interior decorations. Urbanic also explained a project to renovate the church’s shrine to Our Lady of Czestochowa. The completed shrine will feature a replica of the icon nicknamed the "black Madonna" and a portrait of Pope John Paul II in prayer.
This renovated shrine will be blessed Nov. 16 as part of the parish’s 100th-anniversary celebration of the church building’s construction. During the tour, Urbanic pointed out features of the church that had been restored during a parish renovation several years ago.
"The inside of the church was gorgeous," Mary Tomasella of Irondequoit remarked after she had been on the tour.
Tomasella said although she is not a member of the parish, she attends the festival every year to sample the food, which included filled cabbage rolls, sauerkraut and smoked sausage.
Craig Charles of Rochester, a parish neighbor, said he also attends every year to sample the parish dinner platter and to go on every church tour offered during the weekend festival. He said some of his other favorite parts of the festival are the music and games.
"I’ve enjoyed taking photographs of the festival," he said.
Along with various types of Polish cuisine, the festival also features traditional Polish art. Parishioner Danielle Bonsignore of Penfield, who was one of several people manning a booth selling handmade Market Square Polish pottery, said many people return to the festival year after year to add to their Market Square collections.
She said the pottery is durable because it is made from white clay that is able to be fired at high temperatures in factories in Boleslawiec, Poland.
"It’s very popular right now," said Bonsignore, who owns a Pittsford shop that features the pottery.
Another booth displayed several traditional techniques for decorating eggs, including using wax and dye to make elaborate designs, etching dyed eggs and painting eggs.
Eggs were not the only things that were painted. As he got a design painted on his face, 8-year-old Ryan Long said he was enjoying the chance to play the festival’s games.
"The kids love to come here," said his mother, parishioner Michele Long.