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CLEVELAND (WJW) – The Spring Chicken has been lit, kicking off Dyngus Day, where thousands of people are celebrating Polish culture.

The tradition of Dyngus Day was brought to Cleveland 13 years ago by DJ Kishka.

“You can’t put words to it, you gotta be here, you gotta feel it, feel the energy,” Kishka said. “Everyone is so nice, having a good time. Again, it’ doesn’t get better than this.”

An estimated 40,000 people will take part in the festivities, which includes plenty of food, beer, and polka.

“What’s not to love? Polka, sausages, pierogis, people dancing,” art coordinator Mark Jenks said.

Jenks creates most of the art and floats (in previous years) for Dyngus Day. He looks forward to celebrating every year because it’s finally time to cut loose after Lent.

“Now we can go back to our normal lives,” Jenks said. “We can eat what we want to eat, drink what we want to drink. And in the Polish tradition, it’s a spring celebration.”

The Chardon Polka Band and many other performers provided the soundtrack for folks visiting at Gordon Green, on of several sites along Detroit Avenue.

Dancing is also a huge part of the celebration. Two former Ms. Dyngus Day Queens Marlene (2018) and Erika Thompson (2021) helped encourage folks to get their groove on. To them it’s all about embracing your Polish roots.

“It’s a big party, it’s a huge celebration,” Marlene said.

“On Dyngus Day, everybody’s Polish,” Erika said.

They encourage everyone in Cleveland to come check out the festival, especially if you’ve never been before.

“Everyone is out here, it’s beautiful weather, you can have a beer, listen to amazing polka music,” Kishka said.

“Come down, be Polish for a couple of hours, or the whole day,” Jenks said. See the full event schedule right here.