For the 13th year in a row, Buffalo's Polish community, parade enthusiasts, pussy willow wavers, red shirt wearers (but not Anderson Cooper) are gathering for everyone's favorite post-Easter holiday: Dyngus Day,
On April 22, Dyngus Day festivities will be focused in Old Polonia on the East Side specifically on Broadway Avenue, Fillmore Avenue, Memorial Drive and Peckham Street. Official festival activities begin at 2 p.m. with live polka music at the Pussywillow Park tent (Memorial Drive and Peckham Street).
Tickets to live music under the tent are $10. See a full calendar of events here. Participating restaurants and bars also host parties with live polka music and authentic Polish food. Find out the full list of participating restaurants.
This year, organizers announced changes to the annual Dyngus Day festival.
The parade, which begins at 5 p.m., will be longer and extended by another turn. Following its usual route from Corpus Christi Church to Broadway Avenue to Fillmore Avenue to Peckham Street, the parade will now make a final turn near Memorial Drive near Pussy Willow Park, ending at Memorial Drive near William Street and Fillmore Avenue.
The list of participating venues has now reached 24, with the additions of Firehouse Sports Bar and Grill (2141 Clinton St., West Seneca), Macky’s Shamrock Room (1643 Bailey Ave.) and Skoobs Village Grille (50 Central Ave., Lancaster).
As far as polka goes, this concert announcement is kind of a big deal. The king of polka, Jimmy Sturr, will perform a three-hour set at Pussy Willow Park beginning at 8 p.m. Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra have won 18 Grammys for polka music, so if there's one thing Sturr can do, it's bring a crowd to its feet.
What's the opposite of eating pierogi and drinking beer? Running. It's the inaugural year of the Dyngus Day Dash, which is a two-person relay covering one mile, in which the baton is, naturally, a pussy willow branch. The race is held at Houghton Park (1675 Clinton St.) and begins at 11 a.m. Registration is online-only, costs $25 and closes at midnight on April 20. Participants receive a commemorative red t-shirt.
Party hop safely with the Pussy Willow Pass, which grants access to free shuttle buses between participating bars and restaurants, as well as a reduced admission of $2 for Dyngus Day parties. Shuttle routes are expanding to all of the participating venues this year. Pussy willow passes can be purchased at Wegmans or at participating festival locations.
For those who can't make it to the parade, or for those who visibly wince at the idea of navigating the throng of Dyngus Day partygoers, a live one-hour broadcast starts at 7 p.m. on WKBW (an encore will air at noon on April 27).