The last Polish Town Street Fair & Festival, which dates back to 1975, was held in 2019. File photo: Denise Civiletti

The Polish Town Street Fair and Festival, after being on the shelf since 2020, will be back in this year, Polish Town Civic Association President Kevin Davis said in an interview yesterday. 

The iconic Riverhead street fair and festival first took place in August 1975 and continued through its 45th annual event in 2019. It was canceled by COVID in 2020 and did not return. That’s changing this year, Davis said, following some regrouping and restructuring in the civic group that has put the event on since its inception.

The event is scheduled to take place, rain or shine, on the weekend of Aug. 17 and 18.

It’s expected to offer about 200 vendors and live music, staged in the same area of Polish Town where it’s been held over the last two decade, Davis said: on Pulaski Street between Osborn and North Griffing Avenue, along Osborn south of Pulaski and along Lincoln Street, east of Osborn.

Event plans are still in the making, Davis said, but he expects it to be on the same scale as the street fair and festival that drew thousands to Polish Town for most of its 45-year history. 

The Riverhead Town Board on Tuesday will take up a resolution approving the civic association’s special event permit application.  

The Riverhead Polish Independent Club, which operates Riverhead Polish Hall, has held an event on its Marcy Avenue property during Polish Fair weekend for several years. In the past three of years, in the absence of the civic association’s event, has expanded the event to include booths on Pulaski Street, west of Osborn Avenue. 

The Riverhead Polish Independent Club will be holding its street fair and festival on the same weekend again this year, Keri Najdzion said.

“Our hall will be open with our delicious Polish food, as well as a band outside and night time dance,” Najdzion said. “Our street will be closed with vendors, we’ll have our Polish wedding with a Queen and King.”

The Riverhead Highway Department has made new street signs for Polish Town with the help of the Polish Town Civic Association. Courtesy photo: Highway Superintendent Mike Zaleski

The Polish Town Civic Association is renewing its focus on Polish Town beautification efforts, Davis said.

The civic has worked with Riverhead Highway Superintendent Mike Zaleski to get new street signs made for the Polish Town area. They are red with white lettering and feature the Polish eagle icon. The eagle images were supplied by the civic group, Zaleski said. Similar signs had been in place for years, but they grew faded and the distinctive eagle image was hard to see, Zaleski said.

The beautification of Polish Town is a point of pride in the Polish community’s heritage, Davis said. To raise money toward that end, the civic is hosting a golf outing May 20 at The Woods at Cherry Creek, Davis said. Information about the golf outing can be found on the civic’s Facebook page.

Alek Lewis contributed reporting.

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