Riverhead Polish Fest Canceled for Fourth-Straight Year

Polish Town Riverhead
Polish Town

The much-anticipated Polish Town Fair that was scheduled to return to Riverhead this summer,  has been canceled for the fourth year in a row as organizers struggle to regroup after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The festival that has celebrated Riverhead’s rich Polish heritage since 1975 was initially put on hold, like many local events, due to the spread of coronavirus in 2020. But this marks the second consecutive year it was slated to make its comeback, only for the plans to fall through.

This popular annual event has been known to draw thousands of visitors and hundreds of vendors to the community to partake in traditional Polish food, Polka music, dancing and other festivities.

Until a decade or two ago, the neighborhood known as Polish Town, an eight-square-block area within easy strolling distance of downtown Riverhead, was the center of Polish life on the East End.

While Polish Town doesn’t exude the same distinctly Eastern European vibe as it once did, some commercial buildings and private homes still display colorful images of traditional characters and floral patterns, a form of Polish folk art known as wycinanki, on and around the main drag of Pulaski Street.

-With Marc Horowitz