40th Annual Pierogi Festival at Sweetest Heart of Mary, Detroit

 
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Ask anyone in Detroit where to get the best pierogi in southeast Michigan in mid-August, and the answer is the same.

That’d be Sweetest Heart of Mary Church on Russell Street, of course.

For four decades, the historic Polish parish’s Pierogi Festival has offered mouth-watering food, traditional dancing and music, reverent liturgies and a small-town community feel.

Catholics and non-Catholics alike travel miles — sometimes from out of state — to experience the best Polish fare Detroit has to offer. This year’s 40th Annual Pierogi Festival offered a chance for festival-goers to return to the church’s roots.

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|Transcript|
Brian McClory:
So we are at the Sweetest Heart of Mary Pierogi Festival. This year is our 40th annual. Well, this was, a century ago, a heavily-populated Polish neighborhood. So this is a way of keeping alive the roots of the Polish ethnicity that the patrons today have. So, a lot of good food is consumed at the festival. We also offer a couple of different masses. People are taking tours of the church.

Nelson Schilk:
These recipes were handed over to me from somebody that had done this previously for many, many, many years. There’s a particular day we make the dough, and then the next time we get together, we make all of the filling. And then we all come in on a Saturday, and that’s when we roll out the dough, cut the dough, pinch it, and then we boil it, then we cool it off and then it goes into the freezer. So it’s quite a labor-intensive process. It’s a lot of fun. We have a lot of fun doing it.

Brian McClory:
My favorite part of it is seeing all of the people in the entertainment tent who enjoy the Polish music and the dancing. We have some folk dancers that perform on both days of the festival on Saturday and Sunday. And just seeing everyone here and having a good time, and also celebrating the beautiful church that we have and the traditions that are there.

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