EDWARDSVILLE — The second and final day of the Edwardsville Pierogi Festival brought residents out to enjoy a parade, games, music, sweet treats and, of course, pierogies.
The day kicked off with a parade along Main Street where emergency vehicles, cheerleading groups, local leaders and community groups made their way past the crowd, with children excitedly grabbing candy as it was tossed their way.
The festival portion of the event moved to John Hopkins Memorial Park, a few blocks from Main Street.
Christine Totten, Kingston, the parent of three pre-schoolers, said the park was a much more child-friendly venue than the borough’s Main Street.
“You don’t have to worry about traffic,” she said. “And there is a playground and open area for the kids to safely run around.”
Morgann Jacien, Edwardsville, and her twin boys Malik and Makel, 11, headed over to Main Street early to enjoy the parade and then would be making their way to the park, especially looking forward to the food available.
In keeping with the pierogi theme, Morgann was looking forward to some traditional pierogies cooked in onion and butter.
Her twins, however, had different culinary preferences.
“I’m looking forward to the deep fried Oreos,” said Malik.
“Not me. I want pizza and funnel cakes,” Makel countered.
Jacien said she was most impressed with the attitude of staff and event attendees.
“Everyone’s been super polite,” she said.
Harry Gulish, originally from Edwardsville and now from Dallas, said he comes to the festival every year because it reminds him of the way things were when he was younger.
“I remember parades when both sides of the street were packed,” he said. “The community coming together makes Edwardsville more cohesive.”
Jackie Moran, president of the Edwardsville Hometown Committee which sponsors the festival, said it was nice to join together as a community while raising money for a good cause.
“Last year, we had a fall event for the kids with pumpkins and games,” she said. “And for the first time, this year, we had a ‘Bunny event,’ where children were able to collect candy and they all got an Easter egg at the end.”
Moran said one of the highlights of the day was the pierogi cookoff, with winners declared in three categories: best vendor, best individual, and best church.
Joe’s Homemade Pierogies won the vendor category, and Gary Moran was named individual champion.
St. Leo’s took top honors in the church category.