A Sterling Heights community group is getting ready to pile on the pierogi this July as part of a celebration of Polish culture.
The American-Polish Century Club in Sterling Heights is organizing the 33rd annual American-Polish Festival July 12-14. Organizers call the event the largest festival of its type in Macomb County.
Although Hamtramck is famous for being a center of the Detroit-area Polish community, Macomb County communities like Sterling Heights also have sizable Polish populations, said general manager Leonard Palermino of the club’s banquet center.
Palermino said he looks forward to seeing people prepare the food, and experience the traditions of their parents and grandparents.
“Each nationality has their own traditions and customs,” he said. “I was brought up with them, and these are still celebrated today all year around.”
Polish food will be one of the main attractions, as the event promises meals of golabki, chicken, potato pancakes and more. Specialties like the “Polish eggroll” and “Polish nacho” will delight guests’ taste buds.
The Srodek’s Pierogi Eating Challenge will be held July 13 and 14, when competitors will try to gorge on as many of the dumplings as possible. Top winners of an open July 14 contest will get prizes.
Special contests will pit pierogi-eating rivalries between the Sterling Heights police and fire departments — as well as the Warren and Sterling Heights city councils — for charity, according to organizers.
Festival Chairman Arnold Beller said Polish cuisine is a treat for many people, especially for those who grew up eating it.
“Everybody likes Polish food because they don’t get it all the time,” he said. “It takes a lot of time to make pierogi homemade.”
Beller added that the pierogi-eating contests are a way to add some fun to the festival.
“Last year, we had a lady from California,” he explained. “She ate 60 pierogis in 10 minutes, and we are trying to get that entered in the ‘Guinness Book of World Records.’ That’s the equivalent of six pounds of pierogis.”
The Polish festival will welcome a variety of music and dance groups that will perform polka and more. The Polish Muslims, the Polka Country Musicians and The Wawel Dance Ensemble will be a few of the acts, and guests can flock to the dance floor. Children’s rides and arts-and-crafts booths are expected to round out the fun.
The American-Polish Century Club, 33204 Maple Lane, near 14 Mile and Hoover roads in Sterling Heights, will host the 33rd annual American-Polish Festival July 12-14. Hours are 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. The event will carry on rain or shine.
Admission is free, but parking in designated areas is $5. Learn more at www.american polishfestival.com or by calling (586) 264-7990.