Some say the Fest has produced its own cultural icon with Mr. Pierogi (pronounced “pi-ROH-gee). Mr. Pierogi loves mingling with the crowd, taking selfies, flirting with the buscias and high-fiving kids. He’s the ambassador of Old World goodwill. He hates being asked if he is hot, because even though Pierogi Fest® takes place in the July heat, it’s still not nearly as hot as his frying pan. You will find him in the parade on Friday night singing and bantering with the crowds, during his namesake songfest on the Saturday, and at the Pierogi Eating Contest and the Pierogi Toss on Sunday afternoon. Other than that, catch him if you can; he’s like a doughy ninja.
The word “buscia” (pronounced “BOO-sha”) means grandmother. Our busicias pay homage to the women who taught us how to make pierogi when we were young whippersnappers. You’ll find them spreading joy around the fest in their housecoats and stockings (most likely falling down) happy to give a lipstick souvenir. Ask nicely and they may share the handkerchief they most likely have stuffed up their sleeve or a root beer candy hidden in their purse. If you have any questions about Pierogi Fest®, they’ll “hand to God” tell you the truth.
While New York City has the Rockettes, Whiting has the Pieroguettes. The girls have been around since the beginning and are Mr. Pierogi's entourage. There are eleven Pieroguettes in all: Miss Mushroom, Miss Plum, Miss Cheese, Miss Potato, Miss Sauerkraut, Miss Chicken, Miss Cabbage, Miss Beef, Miss Apricot, Miss Berry, and Miss Chick. You'll find them surrounding him at the parade and participating in the Mr. Pierogi Songfest on Saturday of the fest.
Miss Paczki (pronounced “POONCH-key”) is the vivacious pastry with Lady Godiva-like hair and red ruby platform shoes. Charm (and jelly) just ooze from her presence. Our sphere-shaped, deep-fried, dough sweetheart with jelly filling and powdered sugar, she is happiness personified. Originally viewed as a nemesis by Mr. Pierogi, who wasn’t comfortable sharing the spotlight, she put the old boy’s ego in check and has ‘rounded out’ our little family quite well.
The Halupki Guy (pronounced “ha-LOOP-key”) is known by several names across the world. Some call him Galumpki, some call him Pigs in a Blanket and some simply call him Stuffed Cabbage. Ask around the Fest a little and you may find some other names people call him, but it’s a family Festival, so don’t repeat them too loudly. Halupki Guy is the Yin to Mr. Pierogi’s Yang. The Tubbs to his Crockett. The Slater to his Zack Morris. The Milhouse to his Bart. The Ron to his---you get the picture. He’s rightfully earned his sidekick status and never leaves the house without a freshly packed cigar and a grouchy comeback to witty remarks.
While our Polkahontas (pronounced “pohl-KUH-hon-tuhs”) may not paint with all the colors of the wind, you’re bound to find her colorful in her own right. Her favorite polka is Jimmy Sturr’s “Too Fat Polka.” Often compared to Marge Simpson with her tall pillar of hair, Polkahontas is the walking, talking, big bottomed equivalent of our Polish ambassador. She presides over our polka contests and is quick to wish you a “Gin Dobre” (that’s “Good Day” to you).