Get ready for Dyngus Day in Cheektowaga
BY: Kaitlin Fritz, Community Papers of WNY | April 02, 2014
Dyngus Day is just around the corner and Val Bakowski is planning an exciting celebration for all generations.
For Bakowski, this will be his 25th year hosting a Dyngus Day celebration and he’s making it a weekend-long event. The silver anniversary of this polka-filled party will attract guests from throughout the country.
With some of the best polka bands in the nation, this bash is sure to get everyone dancing.
In 1990, Bakowski was performing with his popular polka band at Buffalo’s well-known Dyngus Day Festival when he realized everyone was “shoulder to shoulder” and there wasn’t much “elbow room”.
“In those times, the Dyngus Day Festival was so jam packed… People didn’t really have room to dance and really enjoy a polka band,” he said.
This was when he began his own celebration at a hall in Cheektowaga. Through the years, more and more guests have attended and people now even travel from out of state.
“It’s gotten bigger and I needed more space to accommodate people,” he said.
So, he headed to the Millennium Hotel, where his festival has been held for several years now.
New this year will be the polka mass on Easter Sunday.
“We get a lot of people from out of town and they come in from all over the country,” said Bakowski. “A lot of people start coming in on Saturday, so we’re offering a polka mass.
The mass, which will be at 12:30 p.m., will be followed by a happy hour, and the ballroom will open at 6 p.m. Music will begin at 7 p.m. and last all night.
There will be a blessing of the instruments on Sunday as well and Bakowski encourages children to bring their instruments, along with the bands that will perform throughout the weekend.
The party will start back up at noon on Monday, April 21 with the polka pool party and the celebration will last all day long. Guests can enjoy Polish food, dance to polka music and celebrate Dyngus Day with their friends and families.
Bakowski has also been trying to focus on appealing to the younger generations as well. He said many younger adults and children think of their grandparents when they think of polka music, but while the times have changed, so has the music.
“Polka music is so much more innovative now and I do bring in the top polka bands in the country and I try to bring some entertainment for the younger generation,” he said. “It gives them the opportunity to carry on the Dyngus Day tradition.”
This year, there will be a country western band and a DJ, along with the traditional, yet contemporary polka music.
This year’s music will be by Polka Country Musicians, The Polka Family Band and Andy Kuczmarski on Sunday, and Phocus, Freeze Dried, The I.P.A. Tribute Band, with an appearance by Dr. John Valby and West of the Mark.
Tickets are $10 general admission per person, per day. Millennium Hotel is also offering a special for $99, which includes a standard one-night stay for two, discount for Easter brunch and admission tickets to the events.
For more information, call 800-323-3331 or email DYngusNY@aol.com.