Festivals devoted to a single food item abound in Indiana’s small towns. Few, however, treat the local dish with as much tongue-in-cheek worship as Whiting’s Pierogi Fest, which celebrates the tasty filled dumplings of Eastern Europe, the very name of which derives from the Slavic word for “festivity.” A pierogi parade kicks off the weekend, and a full schedule of cooking demos, live bands, and dance troupes provides the entertainment. Be sure to get your photo with Mr. Pierogi or Ms. Paczki (named for the famous Polish jelly doughnut). But the real draw to this oil-refinery town along Lake Michigan’s south shore are 70-plus food vendors, a good number of which offer up delectable pierogi stuffed with the likes of sauerkraut or blueberries, as well as Polish sausage, potato pancakes, and halupki (stuffed cabbage). While in Whiting, drop by Lykos European Food Market (1419 119th St., 219-473-0507) for a wide selection of Eastern European staples as well as fresh breads and cevapi, well-seasoned ground-meat kebabs. Or satisfy your sweet tooth with nut rolls, poppyseed sweet rolls, and a large variety of filled Danishes and strudels at the cheery Calumet Bakery (1446 119th St., 219-473-9560). This year’s festival runs Fri.–Sun.,July 26–28. pierogifest.net.
Photos by Tony Valainis
This article appeared in the July 2013 issue.