Photo Credit: St.Mary’s Polish County Fair
Summer starts on Orchard Lake at the 43rd annual St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair Memorial Day Weekend, Friday, May 23 – Monday, May 26.
Attracting more than 110,000 visitors each year, the nation’s largest high school fair will offer a wide range of entertainment, from top local bands such as headlining acts the Mega 80’s and 50 Amp Fuse, a Vegas-style gambling tent, a large selection of mouth-watering authentic Polish cuisine, dancing and carnival rides. This year the fair will be open: Friday, 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday, 11 a.m. –11 p.m.; and Monday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. The Vegas tent will run until 1 a.m. Friday – Sunday.
This year, the fair will include free parking on the grounds of St. Mary’s. Families can enjoy the fun for $10, and general admission will cost $5. All-day ride passes can be purchased at the gate for $25 or in advance at any participating Meijer store location for $20.
“The fair is hosted and sponsored by St. Mary’s Prep and remains the school’s largest fundraiser,” said Cormac Lynn, headmaster of St. Mary’s and host of the annual festival. “Through the Festival, we are able to provide scholarships to benefit students financially who otherwise may not be able to attend our school. The funds raised also support student initiatives and help maintain and improve the 26 historic buildings that span across the pristine 120-acre campus.”
“Speaking as a volunteer and parent at St. Mary’s, we love seeing students and the surrounding community come together to partake in this spirited tradition while eating pierogi, shopping for Polish apparel and enjoying the start of summer,” said Kevin Foe, event director for the Festival.
Activities include live entertainment, along with a mix of traditional food and family-centered games and rides. The Festival provides something for everyone from toddlers and children to great-grandparents.
Polish food takes center stage at St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair. An expansive menu boasts authentic Polish favorites such as kielbasa, pierogi, kapusta (sauerkraut) and golabki (stuffed cabbage). Pierogi varieties include Farmer’s Cheese, Sauerkraut, Potato, Mushroom and Potato/Cheddar.
Food prices range from $2-$10. The Polish Combo Plate allows patrons to sample many of the Polish favorites and is priced at $10. The Polish Combo Plate includes:
- Polish sausage served on a bun
- Choice of three pierogi
- Golabki (stuffed cabbage)
- Dill Pickle
Separately, a large selection of traditional American fair food, such as hamburgers, corndogs, fresh baked goods, smoothies and ice-cold adult beverages also will be available.
A Beer Garden will offer adult attendees a selection of Michigan-brewed beers including: Saugatuck Brewing Company’s Oval Beach Blonde, Cheboygan Brewing Company’s Lighthouse Amber, North Peak Brewing Company’s Diabolical and more.
From Top 40 and Rock’n Blues Funk to Jazz and Polka Rock, there’s a wide variety of music to enjoy at this year’s fair:
Friday, May 23:
|5:00 p.m.||Cooper Anstett|
|6:00 p.m.||Polish Muslims|
|8:00 p.m.||Fifty Amp Fuse (Top 40)|
Saturday, May 24:
|12:00 p.m.||St. Mary’s Jazz Ensemble|
|12:45 p.m.||Nighthawk’s Jazz Orchestra|
|2:00 p.m.||Big Smooth|
|3:00 p.m.||Earth Angels|
|5:00 p.m.||Dr. Pocket|
|7:30 p.m.||MEGA 80’s (80’s Hits)|
Sunday, May 25:
|12:00 p.m.||Big Daddy Band|
|3:00 p.m.||Roots Vibrations Band|
|4:30 p.m.||Hips of Detroit|
|6:30 p.m.||Soul Provider|
|9:00 p.m.||Jody Raffoul|
Monday, May 26:
|12:00 p.m.||bugs Beddow band|
|2:00 p.m.||Digital Vinyl|
|4:00 p.m.||Toppermost Beatles Tribute|
LAS VEGAS STYLE GAMBLING AND BINGO TENTS
The Vegas tent will return for visitors 18 years and older with several casino games: traditional Black Jack, Craps, Roulette, Big Wheel and Texas Hold’em.
Parents and professionals will serve as dealers for all tables. A cash bar with adult beverages will be available for individuals 21 years and older who will be required to wear a wristband. Admission to the tent costs $5 per person and identification is required.
Those who wish to gamble can pay cash in exchange for playing chips. The cash-out limit is $500. The Vegas tent hours are Friday, 7 p.m. – 1 a.m.; Saturday – Sunday, 6 p.m. – 1 a.m.; and Monday, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
A Texas Hold’em tournament will take place Friday, 9 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Saturday, 9 p.m. – 11 p.m.; and Sunday, time TBD, with information on the Fair’s website. Half of the buy-in money will go toward the school and the other half will go to the player. On Friday, there is a $25 buy-in and a $25 buy-back opportunity; the winner will receive more than $1,000. Saturday will be a $50 buy-in with a $25 buy-back; the winner will receive more than $2,000. On Sunday, an alumni championship will be held, which will be open to the public, with a $25 buy-in and a $25 buy-back. The winner will receive more than $1,000. Each tournament will have 100 seats available.
Fair visitors can also try their luck at a fast-paced game of bingo in a separate Bingo tent and win cash prizes. Bingo cards are $1.50 each.
CARNIVAL RIDES, GAMES AND KIDS AREA
Daredevils will enjoy the fair’s 80-foot roller coaster. In addition, the fair offers more than 45 Midway rides with plenty of thrill rides and Merry-go-Rounds, as well as a Kids’ Zone with crafts for youngsters.Creative Arts Studio of Royal Oak will provide many fun children’s activities such as pottery painting, mosaics, wax hands and squirt the shirt. Airbrush tattoos also will be available for children.
UNIQUE SHOPPING VENDORS
A Fair tradition consisting of many unique and locally crafted items will be available for sale. Nearly 50 vendors will sell handmade Polish pottery items, t-shirts, jewelry and handbags.