Michael Dutkowski says he organized the Polish Spring Festival to "keep our traditions alive while trying to live in the American mainstream."
For the second year, the extensive Polish community in Southern California is gathering this weekend to celebrate its heritage. The two-day festival begins today at the Pope John Paul II Polish Center in Yorba Linda.
The date of the festival commemorates the signing of the original Polish constitution in 1791, Dutkowski said. It also coincides with Our Lady Queen of Poland Catholic Feast Day, which celebrates Poland's patron saint. Both are important celebrations in Poland and fall on May 3.
Despite the large number of people of Polish descent living in Southern California--about 300,000, Dutkowski said--there was never an official celebration of either event until last year.
Dutkowski said most people either observed the holiday at home or in church. But he wanted to hold a festival to bring the Polish community together and to give other people a chance to learn about the customs.
This weekend's festival will feature Polish food, Polish art exhibitions and demonstrations, traditional Polish dancing and a parade. The highlight of the weekend, however, will be today's concert by Los Angeles pianist Lorenza Sanchez, who will perform pieces by Polish composers.
The festival is from 4 to 11 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The Pope John Paul II Polish Center is at 3999 Rose Drive in Yorba Linda.
Information: (714) 996-8161.