The Polish Town Civic Association food stall was a buzz of activity Sunday afternoon as a crowd gathered along Pulaski Street.
“I need another two orders of pierogies and sour cream!” shouts Lisa Mielnicki from the front of the tent. A few feet away, the volunteers quickly toss the traditional dumplings into a paper container. Before they can catch their breath, another order.
“Another sandwich with kraut!” yells Ms. Mielnicki, and the half-dozen cooks get back to work.
For Lisa, Tom, Gianna, Ariana and Nicole Mielnicki, and Mike Frare and Scott Szczepanik, this has been their Polish Town Fair for years. And these kings and queens of kielbasa would have it no other way.
“It’s the one thing you look forward to each summer,” Ariana Mielnicki said. “You count down the days until the Polish Town Fair.”
See the team in action below as they prepare sandwiches from the 2,300 pounds of kielbasa ordered for the fair.
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTOS | Mike Frare of Center Moriches, who has been volunteering at the Polish Town Fair for the past seven years, serves up the fair’s signature dish — a kielbasa sandwich.
Polish Town Queen First Runnerup Nicole Mielnicki and her sister Ariana prepare some pierogies at the tent on Griffing Avenue and Pulaski Street.
Scott Szczepanik puts the pierogies on the grill at Sunday’s Polish Town Fair. The traditional Polish dumplings are first boiled in water before being thrown on the griddle to give them a little extra crispiness.
Tom Mielnicki (back left) coordinates the food for the Polish Town Fair, and has had family and friends help sell pierogies and kielbasa at the stand for the past three years.
Tom Mielnicki, a Riverhead resident, says he volunteers at the fair each year because of the community. “It’s one of the last things that is actually ‘hometown,'” he said of the fair.
Preperations for the food tents begins the Monday before the fair; volunteers sometimes spend 8-to-12-hour days prepping for the annual event.
Mr. Mielnicki says the fair’s organizers bought 2,300 pounds of kielbasa, all special ordered, for the two-day festival.