Twin Cities Polish Festival to add outdoor Mass

| July 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

Amid the perogies, Chopin music and Polish egg decorating, the Twin Cities Polish Festival will include — for the first time — an outdoor Mass during its Aug. 9-11 celebration in northeast Minneapolis.

The Mass in English with Polish music will be 9 a.m. Aug. 11 at the festival’s cultural stage, under a large tent. The festival committee organized the Mass primarily to accommodate festival volunteers, but they are making it open to the public, too.

“It also embodies the spirit of just how central the Catholic faith is to Polish identity and how central the Catholic faith is in the continued … celebration of Polish culture,” said Father Spencer Howe, pastor of Holy Cross in Minneapolis, who will preside at the Mass.

A visiting Polish choir will sing at the Mass. Ed Rajtar, 63, festival committee co-chair, anticipates a few people wearing traditional Polish attire will be involved in liturgical ministries. He also expects at least 100 people to attend among volunteers and vendors alone.

A member of Holy Cross, Rajtar and a group of mostly fellow parishioners started the festival 11 years ago as a celebration of Polish culture and heritage. The festival is an independent nonprofit not affiliated with Holy Cross, but the parish’s Saturday Polish School, a language and cultural program for children, receives funding from festival revenue.

The festival features Polish food, beverages, art, crafts, music and dancing. Drawing 15,000 to 19,000 people per year, the festival takes place at Father Hennepin Park along Old Main Street by the Mississippi River in northeast Minneapolis near the St. Anthony Main neighborhood.

“We’ve had steady growth in the last three years,” said Rajtar, an insurance coordinator, who also serves as president of the board of directors of the Polish American Cultural Institute of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Northeast Minneapolis has deep Polish roots dating back to the 1870s. Polish immigrants started Holy Cross in 1886. Other Polish parishes such as St. Hedwig and All Saints sprouted up in northeast Minneapolis during the early 1900s.

For more information about the festival, visit


Category: Local News