GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Pulaski Days kicks off in Grand Rapids Friday and will run through the weekend.
Pulaski Days was created nearly 40 years ago when two friends came together.
“They decided to really create a strong Polish heritage between the east and west side,” said Michelle Kershner, the vice president of Pulaski Days.
Pulaski Days is an opportunity for people to get into the 14 Polish halls scattered across the west and east sides of Grand Rapids that are traditionally open only to members.
“We love to give it to everybody to say that this is an opportunity that the doors are open. It’s a time that they can walk into any Polish hall and experience Polish food, music, dancing and that strong Polish comradery that you don’t experience everywhere,” Kershner said.
Grand Rapids is sandwiched between two of the largest Polish populations in the country — Hamtramck, near Detroit, and Chicago — although it also boasts a large Polish settling especially on the West Side.
“Our clubs were built upon grandmas and grandpas and great grandmas and grandpas so the traditions of change are really coming into play,” said Kershner.
The change she speaks of is particularly apparent on the West Side where young people are moving in by the masses and the landscape of the traditional West Side is evolving, but the Polish halls see that as a good thing.
“The younger generation bring a wonderful piece to the table, they love to be a piece of their heritage. So to open the doors and say ‘welcome whether you’re Polish or not come on in.’ But our clubs are experiencing a regrowth that really is generating to the younger generation.”
There will be a parade at 11 a.m. Saturday on Michigan Street between College Avenue and Diamond.