By Ian Perrotta
Hamtramck certainly loves its foods. In February, the city celebrated all things paczki. Next weekend, the strawberry takes center stage.
On May 1 and 2, the annual Strawberry Festival will be hosted by St. Florian’s Parish. Now in its 42nd year, the event promises to be fun for the whole family.
The festivities begin on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. with a parade from the Hamtramck Fire Station to St. Florian Church. It’s an appropriate way to kick things off – St. Florian is the patron saint of firefighters. Dozens of fire departments from around the metro area participate in the parade, and every year bagpipers from the Detroit police play a powerful rendition of the song “Amazing Grace.”
After the parade and a special Firefighter’s Mass at 4 p.m., the entertainment begins. There will be a DJ playing everyone’s favorite hits on Saturday night, and Sunday features a complete line-up that includes performances by Polish dancers and music from the bands Muza Mix, Polish Muslims and Kielbasa Kings.
Of course, there will be plenty to eat. In addition to the strawberry bakery – which will have homemade pies, pastries and more – there will be meatball dinners, potato pancakes, stuffed cabbage, pierogi, kielbasa, nalesniki, and of course, the church’s famous City Chicken.
Other activities include a variety of gaming opportunities. Instant bingo, a quilter’s raffle, and an hourly 50/50 are just a few things to occupy your time with. For the younger crowd, there will be children’s games. And for everyone, there will be plenty of chances to dance and dine in either the church’s hall or the heated tent.
“We hope everyone in town pays a visit,” says Cindy Bonneau, the festival’s director. “It’s a very nice family event, it’s very economic, and it’s a great Hamtramck tradition.”