2018: Edwardsville Pierogi Festival Relocates To Park For Fifth Annual Event
The return of bazaars can only mean one thing — the return of pierogi.
Those who love the Polish food should make their way to the fifth annual Edwardsville Pierogi Festival, which runs Friday, June 8, from noon to 10 p.m., and Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Rather than centralize the festival on Main Street, this year’s event takes over John Hopkins Memorial Park for the weekend.
“The driving force behind moving, was number one: safety,” committee member Jackie Moran said. “Main Street Edwardsville is very narrow and the sidewalks are very narrow … With people walking along the sidewalk, and with heavy traffic, it was an accident waiting to happen. We had a small incident last year where a car bumped a vendor, so we did not want to see anything else of that nature happen again.”
Additionally, the move to the park caters to those with disabilities and children in strollers, so they do not have to climb the incline of the street.
For this year’s event, High Street, which runs parallel to Main Street and gives access to the park, will be closed by the borough to cater to the event.
Like prior years, attendees can expect a wide variety of ethnic foods — pierogi, haluski and kielbasa, to name a few — children’s activities, musical acts and the annual parade, which steps off at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 9.
With the change in location, the festival will have more of a “fair atmosphere,” Moran said, as the big top tent with live entertainment, the children’s activities and the vendors are all stationed in a centralized location.
At least 11 pierogi vendors are scheduled to attend this year’s event, and they are cooking up a storm to prepare for the masses.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, the annual pierogi cook-off begins on stage underneath the big top tent, with local “celebrity” judges including local politicians, media personalities and, for the second year, a member of the public. Anyone interested may purchase a $5 ticket for a chance to be judge at the cook-off.
Tickets for this opportunity will be on sale at the committee stand, and the winner of the raffle will be announced after the second live act Friday night.
Categories in the cook-off include best church pierogi, best vendor pierogi and best individual home-cooked pierogi. With the change in location, the committee decided to make the cook-off smaller this year and cater to the food which the festival is named for.
“We wanted to scale it back, so it’ll be just pierogi,” Moran said. “We’ll see how it runs, and if it works good we might filter those back in a year or two. But want to see how (the festival) transitions to the park.”
For those who want pierogi at home, St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church will be selling frozen pierogi by the dozen. To purchase, stop by their tent for a voucher and pick up the pierogi in front of the church on Zerby Avenue when you leave the event. This year, the church will also sell hot pierogi out of the church.
Additional favorites return to the festival this year, such as the children’s section that features a bounce house and the Endless Dreams petting zoo, as well as the wide variety of food, craft and commercial vendors, including 20 first-time Pierogi Festival vendors.
Live music takes place throughout both days of the festival, with main acts including Lost Dogs, a Pearl Jam tribute, and Flaxy Morgan.
Moran, who has been involved with the pierogi festival since its inception, said the fifth year is a big milestone for the organization, whose core group is made up of eight primary volunteers.
“We hoped we’d get to (five years),” she said. “(The festival) is something we want to keep going, something that is positive for Edwardsville. It brings life back to town, for at least one weekend a year.”
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If you go
What: Edwardsville Pierogi Festival
Where: John Hopkins Memorial Park, High Street, Edwardsville
When: Friday, June 8, noon to 10 p.m., and Saturday, June 9, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Details: Festival featuring ethnic food, vendors and musical entertainment.
1 to 3 p.m. — Cruise Control
4 to 7 p.m. — John Stevens Doubleshot
8 to 10 p.m. — Lost Dogs, a Pearl Jam Tribute
10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — The Frost Duo
11 a.m. — Parade
1 to 1:30 p.m. — David Blight Dancers
2 to 3 p.m. — Pierogi Cook-Off
3 to 6 p.m. — Flirtin’ With Yesterday
7 to 10 p.m. — Flaxy Morgan