I have been a volunteer for the Polish “Polonaise” Village
of the Brantford International Villages Festival
for over 10 years. And it’s an experience I look forward to every year. I actually call a few months ahead of time to let them know I’m available to help out. It’s a busy event and a little hectic, but it’s one of the happiest and friendliest festivals our city has. Great food, lively entertainment, great food, cultural community and, did I mention the great food
? I have heard so many positive comments from guests to the event while volunteering that it warms my heart and keeps me coming back.
I am a volunteer food server and I’m usually one of the first people you see when you line up to order your food. I am able to speak both languages so I help guests decide what they want to eat, and sometimes, what the food is that they are ordering. Some are first time attendees to the Villages, some are seasoned veterans. But all are happy and ready to be a part of the four day cultural extravaganza that welcomes summer to the City of Brantford. This year’s offering runs from Wednesday July 4th to Saturday July 7th, 2018.
When the line gets a little backed up (as there are many people who want to visit the Village and sample the delicious food), I put on my “Tourism Brantford” hat and start engaging them with conversation about themselves and the event. I ask if they have been visiting other villages, what kind of food they have had while there and what activities are happening at the other the Villages. Everyone always enthusiastically responds about their journeys to the other locations. Many people are actually embracing the full aspect of the Villages. They have their passports and are visiting as many locations as possible. It’s wonderful to see people engaged in the community and wanting to be a part of this event that has been running for 45 consecutive years. The legacy the Villages have in Brantford is legendary.
Some of the great things I hear from patrons at my Village are:
- “I look forward to the Villages each year because for these four days…I eat like a king”
- “I’d like 20 pierogi…and when I’m done, I’ll be back for 20 more.”
- “What’s inside the naleśniki?” (these are polish crepes with either cottage cheese or apples inside)
- “What do you call that? Shish kabob? City Chicken? Patyczki”? (patyczki…always call it patyczki for the true cultural experience)
- “Where are the giant bottles of Polish beer?”
This year there are 17 Village Festival Halls to visit. Festival Passports are $10 each and can be purchased at each Village during the Festival.
Starting June 22, 2018, Passports can be purchased at:
Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts - 88 Dalhousie Street
Best Western Brantford Hotel & Conference Centre - 19 Holiday Drive
Brantford Visitor & Tourism Centre – 399 Wayne Gretzky Pkwy
Ela Stypa Jones
Arts & Culture Coordinator
City of Brantford Economic Development & Tourism