EDWARDSVILLE — So, what makes good pierogi?
“It’s the filling,” Michelle Kosloski, of Monroe County, answered as she joined her relatives near a pony-ride concession on Friday, opening day of the fifth annual Edwardsville Pierogi Festival. “Well-flavored, creamy potatoes.”
“We like them with farmer’s cheese inside,” Jackie Domzalski, of Shavertown, said as she sat with friends under a tent.
“I like the straight potato/cheese kind with butter and onions,” said festival committee member Marilyn Mazeika, who had coordinated the appearance of dozens of food and craft vendors for the two-day event.
Here at the festival’s new location, John Hopkins Park on Edwardsville’s High Street, craft vendors offered t-shirts, purses, jewelry, “upcycled wine bottles,” gourmet dog biscuits, temporary tattoos and intricately carved wooden bird ornaments.
Food vendors sold conventional potato/cheddar pierogi — of course! — as well as pierogi stuffed with such less typical fillings as pulled pork. Other refreshments ranged from cannoli, blueberry lemonade, chicken teriyaki on a stick and smoked kielbasi to piggies, pumpkin roll, locally roasted coffee, haluski, potato pancakes.
Even a block away on Main Street, a little chalkboard in front of the Swizzle Stick bar proclaimed, “yes, we have pierogis.”
For the first years of its existence, the Pierogi Festival stretched along both sides of Main Street. This year, festival-goers seemed pleased with the new location at the park.
“It’s a little safer,” said Paul Warchal, of Nanticoke, explaining he was glad to be away from Main Street’s vehicular traffic.
“The sidewalks weren’t even,” said his wife, Chris, adding another reason to be grateful for the move.
“Our vendors are loving it,” said Mazeika, the vendor coordinator. “Access is better and the ground is more level.”
Mazeika said she’s relieved that a legal suit regarding the Pierogi Festival’s name was recently settled.
“We get to keep our name and they (a community in the Midwest) keep their trademark,” she said.
Some festival goers, meanwhile, could scarcely believe the Midwestern community had created a fuss.
“It sounds like the stupidest thing in the world,” Chris Warchal said. “Edwardsville is the town. Pierogi is a food. Festival is what they call this kind of event. What else would you call it?”
Actually, Mazeika said, if Edwardsville had been denied the use of the Pierogi Festival name, local organizers might have started to call the event something else, like “Pierogi-palooza.”
The Edwardsville Pierogi Festival continues Saturday from 10 a.m. through 10 p.m. with a parade at 11 a.m. and a cook-off at 2 p.m. Live entertainment under a big-top tent includes The Frost Duo from 10 a.m. to noon, David Blight Dancers from 1 to 1:30 p.m., Flirt’n With You 3 to 6 p.m. and Flaxy Morgan from 7 to 10 p.m.
And, if you want to sit down to a whole dinner, the nearby Resurrection of the Lord Polish National Catholic Church will be selling chicken and side dishes under a tent next to the church on Zerby Avenue.
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT