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Szot Park is now suggested as site for K-Fest

Date: 8/23/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

CHICOPEE – Mayor Michael Bissonnette mentioned during his downtown development meeting about speaking with Thomas Kielbania Jr., the resident wishing to revive the Kielbasa Festival, but according to a recent Facebook post, the celebration of Polish heritage may be shifted to Szot Park.

Kielbania also wrote of his intention to raise money to pay for a major improvement to the park.

“The big announcement in this paragraph is that we will be launching a major effort to build an ice arena for the city and our festival and funded by the people of our city attending the Kielbasa Festival’s interfaith breakfast on Sunday May 18, 2014,” he wrote.

Kielbania wrote that he intends to present a plan to the Parks & Recreation Department this week on utilizing Szot Park as the location for the new festival.

“Once the plan is submitted it goes to [the] council and the mayor for approval. Szot Park is the best location to hold our event in the city until we can establish a new K-Fest home to have it for good,” he wrote.

He continued, “Plans are in the works for a ‘glorified shed’ that would hold three to five thousand people and a place for our festival every year, rain or shine. This would be a home for our two hockey teams who really need a home in our town.”

He also revealed additional features for K-Fest that included a casino tent with proceeds benefitting the city’s Fire and Police departments, a polka tent, “a kid’s carnival,” and “an extreme food area” with kielbasa cooking contests.

Kielbania wrote that he has been in talks with polka superstar Jimmy Sturr, All That Remains, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Jay and the Americans and Ray Guilmette, among others to perform at the K-Fest.

He intends on selling season tickets beginning Sept. 1.

“We are releasing tickets to all four nights of events in a limited number for presale. [The] estimated cost is $100 plus cost of limited edition dog tag and chain for entry and reentry ... Season tickets [holders] only have access to this and many other benefits such as selecting additional performers,” he wrote.

Reminder Publications contacted the Parks & Recreation Department for comment, however, Acting Superintendent Richard Maciolek was on vacation.