Lachy Sacz, 1999 - Folkdance from Poland's southern Sacz region. Photo: Phil Benenati
Onion Harvest Festival
This celebration of thanksgiving for a bountiful
harvest is also a celebration of the heritage of the Polish
immigrant farmers that settled the "Black Dirt" region of Orange
County in the 19th century. When the first immigrants arrived and
saw the black mucklands, they fell on their knees and kissed the
soil that so resembled that of their native Poland. Recognizing
that the black dirt was ideal for growing onions, they drained the
swamps, cleared the land, and through hard work established the
area as an onion-growing region, the largest in New York State
today. Held in mid-August since 1939, the festival is filled with
the pageantry of Old World costumes, music, and such national
dances as the polonaise, mazur, and oberek, as well as many
regional dances. More than 200 area residents from five years of
age to adult danced in the 1999 festival under the direction of a
trained authority in authentic Polish dance and folklore. The event
also recreates the ceremonial
dozynki, or harvest
celebration, before the symbolic
panatwo gosdodarze, or
lord and lady of the manor.
Originally submitted by: Benjamin A. Gilman, Representative (20th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.