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Friends of Buttery Brook Park to host Polka Festival

By Lori O'Brien


SOUTH HADLEY With 20 members strong, The Friends of Buttery Brook Park are hosting a Polka Festival June 11 in hopes of raising enough funds to update the park's playground area.

The Friends of Buttery Brook are new to fundraising, according to Joseph Scott of South Hadley, chairperson of the Polka Festival, but have a lot of energy and enthusiasm and they hope the community turns out for the festival and to support a great cause.

Scott explained during a recent phone interview that the nonprofit group needs to raise between $6,000 and $10,000 to update and relocate the playground area.

Headliners for the festival include Dennis Polisky and the Maestro's Men performing from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., followed by 14-time Grammy Award winner Jimmy Sturr and his orchestra from 5 to 8 p.m. The gates open at noon with a disc jockey playing Polish tunes until 2 p.m.

"This is Sturr's only Massachusetts appearance until December," said Scott.

A special staging area and dance floor with tent cover will be set up for the convenience of festivalgoers. Tents will also be provided for shade and to enjoy one's meals since the festival will take place rain or shine. Picnic tables are also available throughout the park.

In addition to the musical offerings throughout the day, a Polish Kitchen run by Millie's will feature the traditional Polish fare favorites including golumpki, pierogi and kielbasa. A special "sampler" option will be a featured entre. For persons who prefer more traditional American fare, picnic favorites including hamburgers and hot dogs will also be offered, prepared by members of the Friends of Buttery Brook. For dessert, Scott said a plethora of baked goods will be available by vendors.

Several vendors of Polish crafts will also be on hand, offering pottery from Poland that includes vases, knick knacks, plates, bowls and china.

Scott added that door prizes will be given out throughout the day, thanks to the generous support of sponsors including Millie's, Topor Dodge, Olde Hadleigh Hearth & Patio, Polish National Credit Union and Class Grass Garden Center of Granby.

Scott emphasized that festivalgoers cannot bring in food or beverages. Also, animals cannot be brought into the park that day with the exception of those allowed by law, according to Scott.

In addition to gate sales, a 50/50 raffle is planned to raise additional money for the playground project. Scott said the winning ticket will be drawn toward the end of the day and the winner must be present to win.

Scott described the festival as a family event, and one of the highlights for children will be an animal feeding zoo featuring rabbits, chickens, sheep, goats, pheasants, a peacock and Nigerian dwarf goats. Tennis courts and basketball courts are also available.

Festival tickets for adults are $12 in advance, $15 at the gate. Tickets for ages two to 12 are $6 in advance or $7.50 at the gate. Children under the age of two are admitted free. To purchase tickets in advance, call (413) 533-9305 prior to June 10. Tickets are also on sale at the Buttery Brook Park on weekends from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the main gate prior to the June 11 festival.

In addition to the Polka Festival, the Friends of Buttery Brook are hosting Cruise Nights every Wednesday through Sept. 14 from 5:30 to dusk. For more information on cruise nights, vendor space or to enter a car into the competition, contact Scott at (413) 533-9305.