By G. Michael Dobbs
CHICOPEE – Plans are firming up for the return of the Kielbasa Festival.
Thomas Kielbania Jr. explained to Reminder Publications
the website is up, schematics for the layout of the festival have been done, permitting and licensing is under way.
The festival will return to Chicopee from May 15 through 18 at Szot Park. The website is www.k-fest.com, which presents a history of the festival as well as information for potential vendors and advance ticket sales.
The original festival or “K-Fest” as it was called, ran for 22 years from 1974. Kielbania, a Chicopee native, wants to revive the event and the community feeling it inspired.
He readily admitted his concept of the K-Fest has changed since he first announced his intentions to revive it. The idea has been “evolving” and Kielbania said, “The whole part of talking about it on Facebook is to get the community talking about it.”
Now, however, his plans are firm and Kielbania is working toward fulfilling them.
Kielbania said the festival would on the baseball area of the park where the Fest For All was conducted. There will be three large tents, with the largest devoted to the polka bans with space for dancing and seating; another that will be used for other musical performances as well as other presentations; and the third will be one containing K-fest memorabilia, current merchandise and beer sales.
There will be several areas of food vendors and Kielbania said of the 30 available spots he has received confirmation from 21 companies. He is presently working on making sure all area kielbasa producers are represented and would like a feature of the festival to be a “Kielbasa Card.” Festivalgoers would buy the card and receive samples from all of the kielbasa makers. When they completed dining, they will grade what they ate so it can be determined who had the best sausage at the festival.
Kielbania, who is in the music business, is presently securing bands to perform.
There will be an 18-ride carnival set on the ball field and there will be fireworks each night. The fireworks will not be as spectacular, he explained, as those on July Fourth, but Kielbania thinks people will still be impressed.
Because of the limited parking at Szot Park, he is also planning to have a valet parking service and a shuttle bus from another parking area.
Admission will be $8 the day of the show with senior citizens charged $2 and free for military personnel with current identification. Children younger than 12 will be free with paid adult admission. Kielbania is offering advance tickets on his website for $5 and there will be special rate for admission to the entire run of the festival.
Kielbania is looking for volunteers as well as businesses that wish to part of the festival. He updates information on the festival’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KielbasaFestival
and can be reached at 858-5340.