By Michael DePietro
Break out the sausage and crank up the polka. The City of North Tonawanda is looking to host a Dyngus Day celebration. The council expressed support for a proposal by Joseph Marranca, chairman of the North Tonawanda Neighborhood Watch, during its Tuesday work session.
According to Marranca, tentative plans would include a day of celebration and a parade down Oliver Street, potentially ending at Dom Polski’s – an historic social and cultural club dedicated to the celebration and promotion of Polish culture. The overall aim of the project – aside from the usual fun associated with the Polish heritage holiday – is to provide a boon to local businesses, particularly those on Oliver Street.
For the parade, the Neighborhood Watch is requesting permission to close Oliver Street starting at 11th Avenue through 1st Avenue from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, April 5. Presence by the North Tonawanda Auxiliary Police was also requested.
The pitch was met with support by council members, including 2nd Ward Alderman Eric Zadzilka.
“I think it’s a great idea. I’m a hundred percent behind it,” Zadzilka said. “I think it’s going to be very successful and … it’ll help the businesses along Oliver Street. People like to celebrate this. Buffalo and the surrounding areas have pride (for) Dyngus Day and I think it’ll go very well; and I look forward to seeing how it how it comes out. And I think it’ll be the first of many.”
The sentiment was also shared by Council President Robert Pecoraro, who had full confidence in the NT Watch and its abilities to coordinate the event.
“We are a very ethnic-oriented city and this highlights one of those big, powerful ethnic groups in the Polish community for Dyngus Days, and we applaud (Merranca’s) effort. We know the NT Watch doesn’t take on just anything, and what they do take on, they do it; they do it well,” Pecoraro said.
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, a similar effort was canceled. This, Marranca said, was one of the driving reasons for trying to put an event on this year, as he wants to see it become a more rich tradition in the city.
“We’re hoping maybe this would be just the start of something that would be wonderful for our city, because I know we have such a rich Polish heritage and I believe it’s a no-brainer,” Marranca said. “Thinking about life after COVID-19, I can see this becoming a yearly tradition.”
Of course, all of this hinges on proper safety protocols being in place. Marranca said he’s willing to do whatever is necessary to make it happen.
“We’re prepared to do any proper procedures and take any precautions that will mitigate the spread of the virus,” Marranca said. “We look forward to working with the council and the city and small businesses in the area to make this a safe and successful event.”