THE POLISH CULTURAL CLUB OF GREATER HARTFORD, INC. ANNOUNCES THE WINNERS OF ITS 39TH ANNUAL SZOPKA FESTIVAL COMPETITION
The 39th Annual Szopka Festival and Competition, sponsored by the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford, Inc., was held at the Polish National Home in Hartford on Sunday, December 1. Despite forecasts of a significant snowstorm that day, hearty visitors from Connecticut and beyond enjoyed the colorful atmosphere of a Polish Christmas Fair and the magical display of Krakowian szopki, the brightly decorated and elaborate creches created by area school children for cash prizes.
More than twenty young artists working in teams participated in the competition, resulting in twelve amazing entries to be judged. The following awards were made:
Photographer: Frances Pudlo | 1st Prize Winner, Created by Maya and Jameson Fisher from St. James School in Manchester.
First Prize: Maya and Jameson Fisher from St. James School in Manchester
Second Prize: Stefaniya Barbieri and Mary LaMonica of St. James School in Manchester
Third Prize: Tiffany Barbieri and Johanna Monak from St. James School in Manchester
Honorable Mention: Avery and Hudson Prewo of St. James School in Manchester
Most Traditional Szopka Award: St. Matthew School in Forestville
The Club is very grateful to Marek Czarnecki, Competition Chair, who visited the schools to lecture on the history, meaning, and development of szopka making; Carol Oleasz-Grondin, who worked with and encouraged students at St. James School in the art of szopka making; and Elzbieta Zagula of St. Matthew School. All proceeds generated from the Szopka Festival benefit the Club’s Jennie Marconi-Javorski Scholarship Fund.
The mission of the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford, Inc. is to share and promote Polish heritage and culture with members of Polonia and the general community. A cordial invitation is extended to anyone interested in joining the Club. A membership application form, as well as further information, can be found on the Club’s website www.polishculturalclub.org or by calling 860.659.0356.
This celebration features the time-honored custom of the sharing of the Opłatek (Christmas wafer) and a five-course traditional (meatless) dinner. It will culminate with a sing-along of Kolędy (Christmas Carols).
Lilia Kieltyka, President of the Club said, “The Club is pleased to once again open our most cherished Christmas Eve tradition to the public. The Polish National Home of Hartford is the perfect spot for our Wigilia.”
The cost is $45.00 for members. A cordial invitation is also extended to any non-members who wish to enjoy a typical Polish Christmas Eve experience – cost: $50.00. Advance reservations are required, and no tickets will be sold at the door.
The reservation deadline is December 8, 2019. Please make checks payable to the Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford, Inc. (PCCGH) and mail to Mrs. Nancy Yiznitsky, 87 Montclair Drive, East Hartford, CT 06118.
Call (860) 568-2044 to speak with Nancy about your reservation.
The Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford, Inc. and The S.A. Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish Studies are co-sponsoring a special event on Sunday, November 17, 2019 in the Chopin Ballroom at the Polish National Home, 60 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford to honor the heroic Polish Kosciuszko 303 Squadron fighter pilots who helped the British Royal Air Force (RAF) win the Battle of Britain during World War II. Doors open at 1:00 PM to provide time to view a curated collection of Kosciuszko Squadron memorabilia. At 2:00 PM, a feature film called “Mission of Honor” will be shown (in English with some Polish) preceded by a brief introduction by Dr. M.B. Biskupski, Chair of Polish Studies at Central CT State University. A question and answer period will follow the conclusion of the film. Admission is FREE and open to the public.
The Polish National Home will be featuring dining specials from the Polish Cultural Club cookbook available to order from 11:30 AM to 6:00 PM. As a tribute to all Polish veterans, a Mass will also be held at SS. Cyril and Methodius Church, 55 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford at 11:30 AM. All are welcome to attend.
The Kosciuszko 303 Squadron RAF, formed in July 1940 as part of an agreement between the Polish Government in Exile and the United Kingdom, had a distinguished combat record until it was disbanded in December 1946. “Had it not been for the magnificent material contributed by the Polish squadrons and their unsurpassed gallantry,” wrote Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, head of RAF Fighter Command, “I hesitate to say that the outcome of the Battle of Britain would have been the same.” The 303 Squadron was one of the top fighter units in the battle and the best Hurricane-Spitfire equipped one. Its success in combat can be mainly attributed to the years of extensive and rigorous pre-war training many of the long-serving Polish veterans had received in their homeland. During the Battle of Britain, the Squadron was credited with 126 enemy aircraft destroyed, 13 probables, and 9 damaged. From September 1, 1940 to May 8, 1945, they destroyed 205 enemy aircraft, with 40 probables, and 28 damaged. Winston Churchill, speaking about the Battle of Britain in 1940 said, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” The Kosciuszko 303 Squadron was one of these “few.”
For further information, please call (860) 841-3477, the Polish Studies Program at (860) 832-3010, or the Polish National Home at (860) 247-1784.