WHITING — After a year's hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Pierogi Fest Polka Parade will again march through downtown Whiting to kick off the weekend-long festival that celebrates the Region's Polish heritage.
Mr. Pierogi, Miss Paczki, the Precision Lawnmower Drill Team and various floats will roll down 119th Street, delighting the crowd lining the sidewalks with lawn chairs and coolers. Pierogi Fest organizers are inviting people to apply for the chance to march in the parade.
People are encouraged to submit an application to the Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce "by no later than July 21, 2021 at 4:02 a.m."
"The parade is popular and fun because it’s funny," co-founder Tom Dabertin said. "If you have seen previous parades in person, or a segment featuring the parade on various television shows, well, you then have seen a parade. The parade is a spoof on traditional parades. The parade is generally a walking parade although we allow float-type entries, motorcycle units, trucks, buses, construction equipment. ... And, please note, given the massive crowds, please refrain from throwing candy at spectators, but you can throw it at yourself."
People are encouraged to dress up in costumes and decorate floats. Outrageous attire is encouraged.
"Be outrageous if you like, but please keep it in good taste. For example, you can dress up as a present or past entertainer such as Elvis, present or past president of the United States, but not as a local politician," Dabertin said. "We want to have fun, but we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings either (of course, you can hurt your own feelings if you wish). Speaking of politicians, due to the risks that campaigning can pose to the general public, we do not allow political campaign entries into the parade. If you are a candidate and wish to participate in one of our zany marching units, great, but leave the buttons, signs and campaign stuff at home so your family can get to know you."
The parade will step off at Forsythe Park in Hammond's Robertsdale neighborhood at 7 p.m. July 23. Marchers must line up at 6 p.m. that day.
Known for its offbeat sense of humor and the chance to eat several pounds of dumplings without shape, the festival has become of the most popular in Northwest Indiana since it was founded in 1994. It's garnered international news coverage, including from the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, Tripadvisor, Saveur and O, The Oprah Magazine.
For more information, call (219) 659-0292.