You can travel the world without leaving Chicago. So this weekend I traveled northwest to the Jefferson Park community area for the Taste of Polonia. The tickets were $7.00 at the gate, that's not a bad price to learn something new.
The word Polonia is the proper term for scattered populations of Polish descent. The festival was held on the grounds of theCopernicus Center, named after Nicolaus Copernicus, a Polish mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe that placed the sun, rather than the earth, at its center. The Solidarity Tower, erected atop of Copernicus Center, resembles the historic Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland.
The sponsorship was visible as I walked in. The Taste of Polonia had support from brands like Tyskie, one of the best selling brands of beer in Poland. It didn't taste bad to me, but I have an appetite for adventure, so what do I know. Another sponsor was Polski FM Radio, an ethnic radio station that serves the Chicagoland area. Did you know that Chicago has ethnic radio? 1450 AM (WCEV) is an acronym for We're Chicago's Ethnic Voice; the station's purpose is to provide quality broadcast service to the varied ethnic communities of Chicagoland. Good info to know, right!
Although I was the only person of African descent that I noticed, I didn't feel uncomfortable until I purchased a Polish flag hat and wore it. This brought on the jokes. I met a few Chicagoans with deep Polish accents. Jokingly they asked, "Are you Polish?" I shared Tyskie beer and ate a few Pierogis with my Polish brothers. A Pierogi tastes like a dumpling filled with cheese and ground beef.
While walking around meeting people, I ran into the 45th Ward Alderman John Arena. We spoke briefly about the history of the Taste of Polonia and the demographics of the 45th Ward. Alderman Arena is a member of the Progressive Reform Coalition of the Chicago City Council. The PRC is dedicated to creating a more just and equal Chicago, combating all forms of discrimination, and advancing public policies that offer genuine opportunity to all Chicagoans, especially those who have been left out of our society's prosperity.
Chicago is a City of Nations. My Ventra pass is my passport. I'm trying to learn something new.