CASTLE HAYNE — Though St. Stanislaus had to cancel its November Polish Festival, its drive-thru food sales have continued to sate palates that crave some of the festival’s authentic staples. St. Stan’s hosted its Christmas drive-thru at the end of November and will resurrect its springtime sale just in time for Easter — this Saturday, Mar. 13, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
During Christmastime, festival co-chair Debbie Cool ordered 864 dozen of potato and cheese pierogi, 180 dozen each of farmers cheese, jalapeño and cheese, sauerkraut, cheddar and bacon, and spinach and feta pierogi, 96 dozen of cabbage pierogi, and 60 dozen of prune pierogi. She also stocked up on numerous containers of potato pancake batter and pounds upon pounds of kielbasa.
It all sold out, except for some pierogi.
“I couldn’t tell you how many people came to the sale,” Cool said of the Christmas event, “but we had a double line of cars coming through for a while.”
The wait, she assured, wasn’t too long. Lines moved quickly as volunteers helped folks place their orders from the safety of their cars. Folks remained masked and followed appropriate Covid-19 protocols, which will be in place this Saturday too.
“We had a printed order form we handed out when they pulled into line,” Cool explained.
The same set-up will welcome customers into the church parking lot off Marathon Drive to place and pick up orders this weekend.
“They filled out the form, paid at checkout when they got to the front of the line, and the order was filled, brought back to their car and they were off,” Cool continued.
The Easter drive-thru sale will include the same items from Christmas, including nut rolls and poppyseed rolls from a bakery in Ohio that St. Stan’s has been working with annually for the 22-year-old festival.
The Polish festival welcomes upward of 8,000 people every November. Aside from hosting various food stations — serving potato pancakes, pierogi, kielbasa hoagies, stuffed cabbage, cookies, breads and pastries, Front Street Brewery Polish beer (brewed only once a year specifically for St. Stan’s) — the event also books Polka band Chardon to play all day, as folks dance under the big tent. A children’s area is set up with activities and bouncy houses, plus a silent auction takes place and handmade crafts are for sale.
All proceeds benefit the upkeep of the church and sometimes help with its outreach programs, like Helping Hands, “which feeds community members in need,” according to Cool.
Cool said the church will make a decision in summer as to whether St. Stan’s will bring back its popular event post-Covid. If it does happen, the organizers already have chosen a date: Nov. 6, 2021.
“Fingers crossed for November,” Cool said. “It all depends on Governor Cooper, whether he’ll allow mass gatherings outside and do away with the social distancing. There’s no way we can social distance 6 feet apart.”
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