Several Luzerne County food festivals served as hotspots of activity, crafts and entertainment this Saturday, but the real highlight was, as always, the food itself.
Attendees were not disappointed, as the smells of ethnic foods filled areas of Plymouth, Edwardsville and Drums.
The 10th annual Kielbasa Festival in Plymouth overflowed with area residents. The Ethnic Food Festival at St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Edwardsville and the Hot and Stinky Garlic and Herb Festival at Zanolini Nursery and Country Shop in Drums also drew foodies.
“The festival is an opportunity to welcome our parishioners and members of the community to sample our unique ethnic food,” said Ed Morgans, publicity coordinator at St. John’s. “It is also our major fundraiser of the year.”
Many attendees said they made a special trip to Edwardsville to partake of the menu, which included potato pancakes, halupki, pierogies, goulash, haluski, paguch and a variety of baked goods.
“We take pride in presenting unique Eastern European foods,” said Kathy Harmanos, church council president. “Our food is made from scratch, and we buy from local organizations.”
Organizers of the festival credit the hard work of parishioners in preparing food and staffing the booths.
At the Kielbasa Festival, a large swath of Main Street was dedicated to the event. Terry Womelsdorf, event coordinator and president of Plymouth Alive!, said this year’s festival attracted almost 100 vendors, an increase from previous years.
“We have something for everybody,” said Womelsdorf, “from food items to accessories, novelties and household items.” A parade, which took place Saturday morning, was a favorite of youngsters.
“I came so that the kids could watch the parade. It really holds their attention,” said Lenny Shovlin, father of Nicholas, 2, and Katelyn, 10 months. “They really love it.”
“Everyone is welcome to participate in the parade and it has a diversity and fun,” parade organizer Clyde Peters said. “Every year it gets longer with more people lining the street for a chance to watch.”
The highlight of the event was the kielbasi competition. (See attached list of winners.)
In lower Luzerne County, people also gathered to celebrate food at an end-of-summer bash. The Garlic Festival provided an opportunity for area vendors to sell homegrown items and have fun. In its 15th year, the event includes activities such as a garlic-eating contest, corn roast, pottery-making demonstration, musical offerings and sale of a variety of homemade foods.
“We anticipate about 1,000 attendees a day,” said festival manager Paula Willis. “It’s a great opportunity to enjoy food and family in a wonderful setting.”
The Garlic Festival continues today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the garlic-eating contest, touted as “the best part of the festival” at noon.