WHITING — Pierogi Fest is still looking for food vendors, volunteers and parade marchers this year.
The popular food festival in downtown Whiting is normally booked up but the coronavirus pandemic has changed things.
"Normally we wouldn't need food vendors by this time but COVID has caused an employee shortage for some of our regular food vendors from the past, who are unable to come this year," organizer Tom Dabertin said. "We need about five or six more food vendors. It's a terrific opportunity for restaurants to showcase their food for hundreds of thousands of people."
Food vendors will be automatically invited back next year, Dabertin said.
"It's an opportunity for them to print money," he said. "With the crowds we have you could sell paperclips and people would buy them. Because of the employee shortage, we're opening it up to local restaurants."
Any restaurants or food trucks interested would just need to commit to remaining open the entire time during the festival.
Pierogi Fest also needs volunteers to stage the weekend-long festival that will take place July 23 through 25. Some of the older people who normally volunteer are sitting out this year because of COVID-19.
"It takes 600 volunteers to put it all together," Dabertin said. "We're so dependent on and appreciative of volunteers."
The Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce, which stages the festival, also seeks more marchers for the Pierogi Fest Polka Parade that will kick off the festivities at 7 p.m. July 23.
"We're looking for unique entries," Dabertin said. "The crazier the better."
The parade, which is a light-hearted, humorous spoof of traditional parades, features Mr. Pierogi, Miss Paczki, the Precision Lawnmower Drill Team and various floats.
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."
For more information or if interested, visit pierogifest.net or call 219 659-0292.