ring the kids & grandkids to Celebrate Walentynki 
Traditions will not continue to the next generation unless we make that happen. To do our part, we offer Polish Kids Corner. Join the fun next weekend when we gather for our February session to celebrate Walentynki-- Valentine’s Day with a Polish spin!
This is a relatively new event in Poland, starting only the 1990s. It is now competing for the title of “feast in love” with the popular Slavic Midsummer Night of Sobotka in June. This has raised some criticism as another example of the “Americanization of Polish native culture.” But that isn’t a worry for us because we are American! Plan to join in the fun! Built around a seasonal theme each month, klubowiczki ages 4-14 years old will enjoy learning about Polish traditions, language, and song and create a craft to take home. Parents are invited to stay or can drop off their students with the qualified instructor and know they will spend the hour learning about their culture while having fun.  Hosted by Krakowiaki Polish Folk Circle. Join us!
Saturday, February 7, 2014 9 AM at Poland’s Public Library. For more info, call 330-333-9724.

Polska Kuchnia offers the chance to make your own pączki!

It seems that our favorite spring treat is becoming a wide-spread offering in the Mahoning Valley. Yo Donut now joins Giant Eagle, Krakus Deli and our own Kiederowski Bakery in offering their own version of this tasty delight. So why shouldn’t you have the chance to customize your own version of pączki, too!   Join us to learn how to DIY this classic. This is the class that started them all back in 2012 and hasn’t been offered since! It seems our Chef Tad is not as much about the sweets as he is about true hearty bread and food, but he is making an exception for us this month. Just bring an apron and a take-out container. All other supplies will be provided.  These classes sell out because of their reputation for fun and laughter.  Class: Sunday, February 8, 2015, 1 – 4 PM Cost: $25 per class. To register, go online to the website or call 330-333-9724.

Polish Mardi Gras gets a Valentine’s Spin!
When we host a party, we like to make sure there is always something new and fun for you to look forward to enjoying!  This annual Mardi Gras celebration is our most popular “public” event. This year, it falls on a very secular weekend so it has potential to be a HUGE draw. Hope you plan to join us for our 7th Annual Ostatki: A Polish Carnival {and Valentine’s Day} Celebration, on Saturday, February 14, 2015, at 6:30 PM at The Historic B&O Station in Downtown Youngstown, OH. Guests will enjoy guided tastings of imported Polish vodka, beers and liquors complimented by an elegant buffet dinner. Our friend Tim Stoll just did a shopping trip in Chicago on our behalf this week and picked up some new and exciting delights for tasting. Great music sets the tone for the evening as guests enjoy trivia meet-and-greets, bead contests, elegant basket raffles, photo booths and others games. The evening will climax with the presentation of the celebratory pączki with a hidden surprise for one lucky winner.
We even hold the region’s only Vodka Cocktail Contest bringing out the best in regional professional and amateur mixologists to be tasted by regional celebrity judges. We are expanding this portion of the festivities this year to hold the professional contest earlier in the week—allowing the select cocktail to be the Signature Drink for the event! We also are doing a round of People’s Choice as part of the amateur judging. So obviously there will be plenty to do for everybody that night!
Tickets are on sale

What’s your favorite vodka cocktail?
Applications are being accepted for our 6th Annual Vodka Cocktail Contest. Some of those who have signed up for the “difficult task” of judging include Mayor McNally, Downtown Events Coordinator Michael McGiffen, SMARTS Director Becky Keck and Youngstown Nation’s Phil Kidd.  So now they need YOU to jump in and start mixing or nominate your favorite bartender to make their most
creative concoctions. All will be competing for some soon-to-be announced prizes—we want to make it special for Valentynki! Each drink will be tested for creativity, flavor, originality and Polish theme. Learn more about it here.

Pre-order your pączki and save some dough

It’s that time of year! I know we all vowed to cut down on our calories and gluten intake, but you’ve got to make an exception for this annual pre-Lenten delight.  I know our house just reduced our order—we didn’t eliminate this indulgence! PYTown Team members are ready to take your orders now …proceeds benefit our children’s programming and fledgling scholarship fund! Preorders get the special price of $15/ dozen…if you wait until Fat Tuesday the price goes up substantially, and we can’t guarantee what flavors will be available.  With the help of Kiedrowski’s Simply Delicious Bakery, we are ready to satisfy even the most indulgent sweet tooth with all of your favorite flavors, including the nontraditional custard! Traditionally, Polish families made pączki and other treats on this day to use up all the sugar and fat in the house that were forbidden during Lent.  ONLY 2015 FORMS WILL BE HONORED. Download your order form here.

Start planning to celebrate Fat Tuesday in a festive fashion

We are taking the party up a notch at Pączki, Polkas and Piwo (translated as Donuts, Dancing and Draught) on Fat Tuesday morning February 17 from 7:30 AM – 8 PM at both Kravitz Delicatessen locations! There will be live music, dance lessons, genealogy talks and more at both the Belmont Avenue and the newly renovated Poland Library locations. Add to this Kiederowski’s delicious paczki and Jack’s great food specials; then wash it all done with some nice cold Zywiec, and you got the makings for a great Pre-Lenten celebration. All we need is you! Learn more here

Polish Film Series has romantic spirit…or does it?
Jennifer Lopez’s erotic thriller
The Boy Next Door is building on the energy and themes set by this month’s Historia Polish History Class film selection. Krótki film o milosci (A Short Film About Love) is written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker is a Polish romantic drama directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski.  It is an expanded film version of “Decalogue VI,” part of Kieślowski's 1988 Polish language ten-part television series, The Decalogue. The story follows the experience of a young post office worker who falls in love with a promiscuous older neighbor after spying her in the adjacent apartment building. He eventually meets and declares his love for this jaded woman who long ago gave up on believing in love. Attendees have responded very positively to the pre- and post-film analysis provided by our own film guru, Auggie Heschmeyer. Make the time to expand your viewpoints. Join us Thursday, February 19, 2015, 6 PM at First Presbyterian Church on Wick Avenue, Youngstown. For more info, call 330-333-9724.

Spend your summer in Poland with us
Travel has been among the many endeavors that PolishYoungstown uses to connect our heritage to a sense of who we are by putting us in touch with the past. This year PolishYoungstown has customized a tour to appeal to anyone considering a trip to Poland, from first-time visitors to the “Old Country” to seasoned veterans. Our tour hits the highlights of Poland with a unique journey through central and southern Poland and special emphasis on the rich customs, colorful history, and diverse cultures of eastern Poland. Our tour will include the top-rated attractions on everyone’s must-see list of traditional sights in Warsaw and Krakow, in addition to the mountain resort of Zakopane, the concentration camp at Auschwitz, the UNESCO World Heritage-designated salt mine at Wieliczka, and the birthplace of our beloved John Paul II at Wadowice. Return visitors to Poland will find special appeal as we take the “road less traveled” in Eastern Poland. Featured are theEuropean Stork Villageat Pentowo, the Tatar settlement at Kruszyniany, a two-night stay at Bialowieza at the very doorstep to Europe’s last great primeval forest, and Poland’s largest open air museum at Sanok, featuring over 100 buildings from the 17th to 20th century – all arranged in a village landscape. Want to join in the adventure?  Learn more here.

News from Poland
by Ted Mirercki
Poland has elected its first openly gay city mayor
At least one city in Poland is defying the nation’s reputation for being staunchly conservative. The residents of Słupsk, a city in the Pomerania region, recently elected Robert Biedroń, a well-known gay rights activist, as its mayor. Though he doesn’t even live in the city yet, Biedroń, a member of the lower chamber of the Polish parliament, received 57% of the vote.  Along with him, Poles elected Anna Grodzka as their first transgender member of parliament. Nearly 20 candidates came out as gay or bisexual before the latest round of elections, a record number in Poland. Homophobic incidents still occur regularly in Poland, but now many of them are called out by the media and gay rights groups. Hate speech is less permissible in the public sphere than just a few years ago. Learn more about this story here and other stories in the most recent edition of Polish Media Watch.

Calendar Highlights
February 7 Pączki presale ends... February 8 Polska Kuchnia Pączki Making... Kiedrowski Pączki Ball, Amherst (We are carpooling &  reserving a table so let us know if you want to join in!)…February 10 7 PM Vodka Cocktail Contest PROFESSIONAL division... Saturday, February 14 Love-themed Ostatki & Vodka Cocktail Contest AMATEUR division February 17 Pączki, Polkas & Piwo... February 19 Polish Film Series: February Krótki film o milosci (A Short Film About Love)... Saturday, April 11 9:30 PM (Reelz Channel) Series premiere Polka Kings starring the Chardon Polka Band... July 2015 Trip to Poland... Sunday, August 30 Polish Day 2015...

Do Zobaczenia!
Aundréa and Your PolishYoungstown Team

Video of the Month

Polish Media Watch

Polish Words of the Month
November Listopad
Autumn jesień
Pumpkin dynia
Leaves are falling puścić liście
Thanksgiving DzieńDziękczynienia
Thankful wdzięczny
I am thankful for Jestem wdzięczny za ....
Turkey indyk
Parade parada