Get To Know The Eccentric, Potato-Filled Traditions Of Pierogi Fest

Courtesy @marlo_photo, Instagram

Whiting, a town in Northwest Indiana, is hosting this weekend its annual Pierogi Fest, the self-proclaimed “wackiest festival in the Midwest.” Amidst life-sized pierogi people, a plethora of babushkas, and kilt-clad Hoosiers, one might easily get overwhelmed. Here’s our guide to seven of its events that’ll help bolster your Polish spirits:

Pierogi 5k Stumble

Pre-gaming a carb-loaded weekend with a bit of cardio is never a bad idea. The festival 5k takes place on Thursday, July 22 from 7:30-10:30 p.m. A selfie at the finish line with Mr. Pierogi’s family is arguably better than a participation trophy.

Pierogi Parade

It’s not every day that you can bear witness to a lively procession of elaborate floats, men in their finest dad sneakers pushing lawn mowers, and walker-wheeling babushkas all in one place. The Pierogi Parade, starting Friday at 7 p.m., sets the tone for a wacky weekend.

Dan’s Pierogies

As one of the largest food festivals in the Midwest, the festival has countless food vendors. One might be drawn to unusual options for pierogi, such as pizza or alligator, but Dan’s Pierogies shows the virtue in tradition. Dan’s is known for having the longest line of the festival as people eagerly await their helping of potato-and-cheese, sauerkraut-and-mushroom, and prune-and-sweet-cheese-stuffed Polish dumplings. (It’s tempting to be economical by buying them a half-dozen at a time, but try not to fill up at one booth.)

Courtesy @marlo_photo, Instagram

Mr. Pierogi Songfest

Mr. Pierogi himself will grace the Oliver Street stage on Saturday at 1 p.m. for his annual , accompanied by a Polish cuisine-themed ensemble. Mr. Pierogi’s performance has been known to steal the hearts of festivalgoers, but whatever you do, don’t tell this to Halupki Guy.

Pierogi Eating Contest

Make sure to loosen your belt for this one—or better yet, come prepared in your most stretchable pair of pants.  The Pierogi Eating contest takes place Sunday afternoon at 3:30. Although they come in small packaging, these Polish dumplings are surprisingly filling. Surely, quarantine prepared us all for the challenge.

Pierogi Toss Contest

Grab a partner and get a couple practice throws in before the competition kicks off Sunday afternoon at 3:30. Take turns under-handing pierogi in a competition to see who can be the last one standing. Typical toss contest rules apply, with one addition—you drop it, you eat it.

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Meet the Family

Pierogi Fest is very much a family affair. Mr. Pierogi, Miss Pacski, and the Pieroguettes are Whiting royalty, and the weekend isn’t complete without meeting all of them. Whip out your selfie-stick and commemorate your moment together as they make cameos at various points around the festival grounds.