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Orchard Lake

Memorial weekend fair packs a Polish punch

May 14, 2014

» click to enlarge «
Fair-goers enjoy a ride during St. Mary’s 2012 Polish Country Fair.

ORCHARD LAKE — It’s been dubbed the largest fair in Michigan since the state fair was canceled in 2009. And as the remaining school days count down, St. Mary’s Preparatory will kick off summer vacation with the 43rd annual St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair.

Attracting over 110,000 visitors each year, the high school fair commences activities at 5 p.m. Friday, May 23. This year, the fair will be open 5-11 p.m. May 23, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. May 24 and 25, and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. May 26.

“The fair is hosted and sponsored by St. Mary’s Prep and remains the school’s largest fundraiser,” said St. Mary’s headmaster Cormac Lynn in a press release. “Through the festival, we are able to provide scholarships to benefit students financially who otherwise may not be able to attend our school.”

Lynn added in an interview that the money raised from the fair is also allocated to the annual budget, and for the faculty and staff.

“It’s important, behind the scenes, that people remember these are volunteers — friends, families, students, alumni — working the fair,” Lynn said. 

Activities include live entertainment throughout the weekend, traditional Polish food, and carnival games and rides. Lynn said he is amazed at how many people attend the fair for the Polish food, which is either homemade by volunteers or prepared by food service on St. Mary’s campus. Polish food staples include Polish sausage, kapusta, pierogi, golabki and dill pickles. American fair food will also be available for purchase.

Roxy Matache, who is responsible for organizing the entertainment, said that 17 time slots will be filled with music from the popular Mega 80s band to Top 40 hits to the Polish Muslims. A complete entertainment schedule can be found at www.stmaryspolishcoun

“We try to get the whole community involved, from alumni, parents, to bigger bands in the metro Detroit area,” she said.

The Las Vegas-style gambling and bingo tent will return for visitors 18 and older, offering traditional blackjack, craps, roulette and poker. Admission to the tent costs $5 per person, and identification is required. The Vegas tent hours are 7 p.m.-1 a.m. May 23, 6 p.m.-1 a.m. May 24 and 25, and 3-7 p.m. May 26.

A designated carnival rides, games and kids area will include an 80-foot roller coaster and more than 45 midway rides.

In order to keep costs low, organizers decided to change the admission fee and offer free parking on the grounds of St. Mary’s.

“We wanted to encourage families to come out and didn’t want to increase the cost for them. … We’re promoting a safe, family-friendly environment,” Lynn said.

The St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair will take place May 23-26 at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Preparatory school, located at 3535 Indian Trail in Orchard Lake. General admission is $5 for individuals and $10 for families. Parking is free on the grounds of St. Mary’s. All-day ride passes are available at the gate for $25 or in advance at any participating Meijer store locations for $20.

More information can be found at, on Twitter at @St_Marys_Fair and on Facebook at

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