Dedicated volunteers make Polski Day preparations

Cathy Kolenda-Smith, left, Polski Day Committee member, and volunteers were busy on a recent Saturday making golambki (cabbage rolls) for the annual Polski Day celebration May 5 at All Saints Catholic parish, 8th and Vermont, Kansas City, Kansas. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)

by Mary Rupert

Those who are looking for authentic Polish cooking such as golambki, Polish sausage, pierogi, kielbasa, kolacki and powitica need look no further than the 34th annual Polski Day celebration.

This event is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at All Saints Catholic parish, 8th and Vermont, Kansas City, Kansas. Polish food, music and activities are part of the celebration. It is a fundraiser for All Saints parish, formerly St. Joseph-St. Benedict Church.

It was on May 3, 1791, that the Polish Constitution of Freedom was signed, leading to the annual celebration on the first Saturday of May.

Volunteers, including some mother-and-daughter pairs, spent one recent April Saturday at the All Saints church basement making an estimated 1,200 cabbage rolls (golambki) that will be frozen until Polski Day.

Another day in April was spent making about 3,600 Polish cookies for the dinner, scheduled 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 5 at All Saints Church basement. There will be a raffle for a quilt made by a parishioner.

Polski Day will begin with a parade at 11 a.m. May 5 at 12th and Central, east on Central to 8th Street, and then to Vermont, ending at All Saints Church.

An important part of Polski Day will be a Polka Mass scheduled at 4 p.m. May 5 at All Saints.

Besides the authentic ethnic food, there will be music at the festival by Jim Baric, accordionist; Brian McCarty, accordionist; the Brian McCarty Polka Band; and the Ed Grisnik Polka Band.

Cathy Kolenda-Smith, Polski Day Committee member, said 100 percent of the funds raised will go toward All Saints parish. She said funds from Polski Day recently went to put a new floor in the parish hall, and also, the ceiling was replaced, with new lights.

The restrooms are also being remodeled at the church hall, and three offices were added in the church hall, she added.

Very noticeable at the church currently is the demolition of the former school building on the property.

“Originally we were going to restore it, and then we had a water main break in there, and it destroyed a lot,” Kolenda-Smith said. The insurance wouldn’t cover nearly half of it, and the archdiocese decided it was more of a hazard than it would be to fix it, she said. The school building was demolished within the last month.

The school area will be turned into a parking lot, with future plans to build a parish center there, Kolenda-Smith said. The parish center might be a long-term project.

Some of the funds raised at Polski Day will probably go toward the new parish center, she said, as well as toward whatever projects at the church need funds.

The family-oriented Polski Day is open to everyone in the community and is planned as a way to unite the community.

The event also includes an online fundraising auction including gift certificates and other items at

For more information about Polski Day, visit

Janet Franiuk Meyerholtz, left, and Pam Franiuk Cornelison, right, who are sisters, prepared the cabbage leaves for golambki at a recent workday in the All Saints parish hall. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Betty Kolenda, right, with Pat Winegardner, left front, and Elaine Webb, left back, made cabbage rolls (golambki) at a recent workday to prepare for Polski Day on May 5. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
Volunteers worked on making golambki in advance for the upcoming Polski Day celebration at All Saints Church. (Staff photo by Mary Rupert)
A school building at All Saints Catholic Church, formerly St. Joseph’s, near 8th and Vermont, Kansas City, Kansas, was demolished recently. Some of the funds raised by Polski Day on May 5 may go toward building a new parish center on this site.