Written by Allison Prudente Friday, 09 October 2009 00:00The Polish American Cultural Association of Port Washington is celebrating its 75th anniversary on Sunday, Nov. 1. Co-chairladies Allison Prudente and Anna Linhart are busy finalizing details of their Dinner Dance with Vice President Irene Wierzbicki and President Joe Brala.
Like any other ethnic group in a new land, the Polish people sought comfort and reassurance among their own people. Thus, PACA, Inc., The Polish American Cultural Association, Inc., was founded on Dec. 1, 1933 and received its Charter in March 1934. Originally called the Polish Immigrants Society, the members held their first meeting at 11 Orchard Street, Port Washington, in what was then a bakery. Its purpose was to develop community pride and promote their cultural heritage through holiday gatherings, lectures and concerts, ethnic exhibits, and classical and Polish American musical entertainment. Assistance was available in applying for American citizenship or with immigration proceedings. Translators were also available when needed.
To this day, PACA, Inc. is still actively involved in functions benefiting the Polish-American as well as a wider community. Benefits are held for the March of Dimes, cancer organizations, church functions, various German organizations’ fundraisers, junior prom, Moving-Up Day for the Middle School, Battle of the Bands, fundraisers for medical equipment, an annual children’s Christmas party, and the building continues to serve as a district polling place for local elections.
One of the organizations most successful social events is its annual Miss Polonia Pageant, where young ladies of Polish descent compete for the honor of representing Nassau County at an annual banquet at the Marriott Hotel in New York City, and then in the Pulaski Day Parade in New York City on the first Sunday in October.
The organization also offers scholarships to senior students of Polish descent entering college each fall.
Today, many of the descendants of those early Polish immigrants still live in Port Washington, and they continue to volunteer to keep the proud spirit alive.
Those wishing to attend the celebration should call the club at 516-883-5553 for details. Reservations are necessary.