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Revelers celebrate Polish traditions on Dyngus Day

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The prevailing colors yesterday on Buffalo's East Side were red and white, under a hazy blue sky. There were mating rituals underway, activities involving pussy willows and squirt guns. There were also street vendors with Polish beer, much discussion of kielbasa and men running around wearing giant pierogies made of foam rubber.

Dyngus Day is a celebration of being Polish and a chance to work off the limitations of Lent on the day after Easter Sunday. Exponent Eddy Dobosiewicz says it's an expanding event.

"The parade is bigger and better than ever. Every year it just keeps on growing. The surge in Polish pride is unprecedented. I don't think that this historic Polonia district has ever seen this much humanity in this area at once. It's amazing," said Dobosiewicz.

There were marching groups,  a new food truck featuring Polish food called Betty Crockski, beer drinkers, and lots of red and white shirts announcing Polish ancestry. Elaine Pasternak says she's known to all as The Egg Lady of the Broadway Market. Pasternak says Dyngus Day is easy to understand.

"Dyngus Day is when you go out and you drink and the boys like the girls, the boys hit the girls with the pussy willows and the girls squirt the girls with the squirt guns," Pasternak said.

Dobosiewicz says it's all in a good spirit of a Polish heritage and it's symbolized by starting the parade in front of Corpus Christi Church, an East Side landmark which has turned around years of problems and has a growing congregation.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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