It's a community celebration in more ways than one, organizers say. While Polska Kielbasa Days celebrates the city of Ivanhoe's heritage, it's also an occasion that brings many community members together.
"It's fun. You get to see people who are coming back to town," said Kelsey Bednarek, a member of the Ivanhoe Community Club. Many past Ivanhoe residents like to return for the festival weekend.
Polska Kielbasa Days celebrates its 40th anniversary this weekend, kicking off with several events on Friday and running through Sunday.
Festival goers can take part in a wide variety of athletic events on Saturday, including a 5K run, a three-on-three basketball tournament and a volleyball tournament, in addition to the softball tournament that runs throughout the weekend. Kids' games and other activities will also be held. There's plenty of music planned for the whole weekend too, Bednarek said. More Cowbell Productions will deejay a street dance on Friday, and Roxbury Drive will perform on Saturday night. Musician Dennis Warner will give an all-ages concert on Saturday, Bednarek said. Legacy funds helped make the concert possible.
Another returning event at Polska Kielbasa Days will be the "Anything of Interest Show," Bednarek said.
"You just bring in something, anything that interests you, and show it off," she said. Past displays have included classic cars or tractors and other items. Bednarek encouraged visitors to check out the vendors who will be in Ivanhoe's downtown on Saturday.
While the festival is a good time for fun and bringing people together, there are also chances to sample some traditional Polish cuisine. A lunch featuring ethnic Polish foods will be on Saturday at the Ivanhoe VFW hall. And of course, Polish sausages are also a favorite at the food stand at Gilson Field, Bednarek said.
Bednarek said festival organizers are hoping for good weather and a good turnout this weekend, but then, there's usually an enthusiastic crowd of community members.
"We've had years where there's been rain, and people still had a great time," she said.
10 a.m.-noon Sidewalk chalk art contest at Ivanhoe Library
1 p.m. Kids' game day at Ivanhoe Pool
5-7 p.m. Pork chop feed at Gilson Field
6 p.m. Softball tournament begins
6 p.m. Lunch stand opens at Gilson Field
7 p.m. Distinguished Young Women program, Lincoln HI gymnasium
8 p.m.-1 a.m. Free street dance with DJ by More Cowbell Productions at Gilson Field
8:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Karaoke by Kim Wolf at Ivanhoe Liquor Store
Softball tournament continues
7:30 a.m. 5K/1 mile run/walk at Ivanhoe Medical Center
8 a.m.-4 p.m. Vendors downtown
8 a.m. Registration begins for three-on-three basketball tournament
8-10:30 a.m. 4-H pancake and sausage breakfast at Gilson Field
9 a.m. Volleyball tournament
9 a.m. Book fair at Lincoln HI
10 a.m. Kiddie races at Lincoln HI football field
10 a.m. Bingo in the park
10:30 a.m. Lunch stand opens at Gilson Field
11 a.m.-1 p.m. Ethnic Polish food served at VFW
Noon Kiddie tractor pull at Ivanhoe Fire Department
Noon-3:30 p.m. Anything of Interest Show on Main Street
Noon Chili cookoff at Gilson Field
Noon Beanbag tournament at small diamond
1-7 p.m. Inflatable rides at Gilson Field
3-8 p.m. Whopper feed at small diamond
3 p.m. Free family concert by Dennis Warner at Ivanhoe Community Center
4 p.m. Firefighter water fights on Main Street, with kids' water fights to follow
8 p.m.-1 a.m. Music by More Cowbell Productions in the ball park
8:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Roxbury Drive at Ivanhoe Liquor Store
Fireworks at dusk
Softball tournament continues
8 a.m. Lunch stand opens at Gilson Field
10:30 a.m. Tacos in a bag at Gilson Field
12:30 p.m. Parade, with theme "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Pie and ice cream social will be at Ivanhoe VFW following the parade.
1:30 p.m. Bingo in the park
1:30 p.m. Antique and classic tractor pull wet of Gilson Field.