Almost 200,000 People Attend The Annual Pierogi Festival In Whiting, Indiana

On October 8th, National Pierogi Day recognizes an international dish that is a type of dumpling.

  • Pierogi is the plural form of the rarely used Polish word pierog. In English, we spell pierogi several ways, including perogi and pierogy.
  • The Eastern European immigrants popularized pierogi in the United States. At first, immigrants served pierogi to only their families. However, ethnic restaurants also served pierogi.
  • After World War II, ethnic churches sold pierogi as a staple fundraiser.
  • By the 1960s, grocery stores marketed pierogi for the frozen food aisles in many parts of the United States. In fact, grocery stores still sell them today.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates hold a pierogi race at every home game. Six pierogi costume-wearing runners (Potato Pete, Jalapeño Hannah, Cheese Chester, Sauerkraut Saul, Oliver Onion and Bacon Burt) race to the finish line between innings.
  • Whiting, Indiana celebrates an annual Pierogi Fest each July. There are tons of fun activities including a Polka Parade, a Mr. Pierogi songfest, a pierogi toss, a pierogi eating contest, and more. They even have a Polish Idol singing contest where contestants choose from a preapproved list of songs all about food. This festival draws almost 200,000 people each year! 
  • Glendon, Alberta, Canada, is home to a 6000-pound pierogi standing 25 feet tall and is made of sturdy fiberglass and steel. Piercing the giant pierogi, built-in 1991, is an equally giant fork.
  • Pierogi enjoyed a brief popularity as a sports food when Paula Newby-Fraser adopted them as her food of choice for the biking portion of the 1989 Hawaii Ironman Triathlon.
  • Pierogi have been made in Poland since the 13th century. However, claims have been staked by the Poles, Romanians, Russians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, and Slovaks.
  • Some suggest that the original form came from China through Italy during the Marco Polo expeditions.
  • Others suggest that the Tartars brought the recipe to the West from the former Russian Empire.
  • Although nothing is confirmed, one thing we do know is that the word pierogi first appeared in Polish cookbooks and literature in the second half of the 17th century.
  • We also know that back then, pierogi was prepared for holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and weddings. Each holiday actually had its own designated pierogi flavor.
  • Ten students from a catering school in Wroclaw, Poland were entered into the Guinness World Records Book for making 1,663 pierogi (90 pounds) in 100 minutes.  They donated the pierogi to children’s homes.
  • Poland has its own dedicated pierogi restaurants called “Pierogarnia.”  You can see them on many street corners.
  • At the 2007 Pierogi Festival in Kraków, 30,000 pierogi were consumed daily.
  • Ted Twardzik Sr. founded Mrs. T’s Pierogies October 8, 1952, producing the first samples for a local grocery store. Mrs. T’s remains the largest producer of (frozen) pierogi in the U.S.

Sources:

National Day Calendar

Mobile-Cuisine

Polska Foods

Hub Pages