By David Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - In its tenth year, an annual Shenandoah event celebrating the borough's heritage brought thousands downtown on Saturday, from as far away as Pittsburgh, and even farther.
"I had a kielbasi burger... I also had pierogies. I love pierogies, I'm Polish, so, it's a nice place to get out to enjoy, have some food, be with family and friends." said Brittaney Carter, Pittsburgh, formerly of Schuylkill County. "I just came home for mothers day to visit family and then come back here, so it's always nice."
State Senator David Argall (R-29, Schuylkill/Berks) was among the attendees, on his way to an Eagle Scout ceremony in Ringtown.
"I love kielbasi, I've known the Kowalonek family for a couple of decades," Argall said, "So this is a perfect stop for me on the way to an Eagle Scout up in Ringtown."
Vendors from local businesses set up during the festival, selling anything from food to dresses, t-shirts to pillows, and anything in between. Vendors ranged from restaurants and local fair staples, such as Huey's Concessions, Muir, to school classes and organizations. Downtown businesses also remained open for the event.
Popular staples of the fair are stands run by the town's three "kielbasi kings", Kowalonek's Kielbasi Shop, Lucky's Kielbasi Shop, and the Capitol Food Store.
"We had a great crowd... We ended up selling out of most of everything." said Dave Lukashunas, owner of Lucky's Kielbasi Shop. "It was nice to see all the people be able to get out. It's a great town. You could tell that people love their heritage, they're always coming back."
Also featured at the festival was a kielbasi cooking contest. Entrants who make their own kielbasi, but do not sell theirs commercially, entered the contest, in categories for both fresh and smoked kielbasi. The entries were judged by the three "Kielbasi Kings".
Sixteen contestants entered this year,
Winning in the Fresh category was Ben Jacobs of Shenandoah. Second Place was Bob Kendricks of Shenandoah Heights.
In the Smoked category, Tom Tirpak of Summit Hill, Carbon County, took first place, while Tom Zajack took second place.