Mar 30, 2024 - Things to Do

Here's what you need to know for Dyngus Day in Cleveland

Illustration of a pierogi with arms and legs walking in front of buildings.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

It's time for some polka, paczki and piwo.

State of play: April 1 marks Dyngus Day or Wet Monday — the Easter Monday celebration that has become a Polish cultural holiday in the United States and has grown steadily over 12 years of formal festivities in Cleveland.

  • On Monday from 10am to 8pm, expect live music, tasty Eastern European delicacies and cultural celebrations, including the annual pierogi eating contest and the crowning of Ms. Dyngus.
  • The celebration will commandeer the streets of the Gordon Square Arts District in Detroit-Shoreway.

Catch up quick: Dyngus Day marks the end of Lent, which in Christian traditions often comes with restrictive observances — no meat on Fridays and personal sacrifices, famously.

Between the lines: Historically on Dyngus Day, boys in Poland would pour water on girls they had crushes on.

  • In Cleveland, it's common to see squirt guns, an evolution of that tradition.

What they're saying: "It's incredible to see the community's commitment to beloved Polish traditions," said Adam Roggenburk, whose company produces the annual event, in a statement.

  • "There is truly nothing like witnessing people and local businesses unite to embrace the rich Polish history and revel in Cleveland's biggest polka party."

By the numbers: Last year, an estimated 45,000 people attended the Dyngus Day bash, event organizers tell Axios.

Zoom in: Cleveland still has several Catholic churches that offer Polish-language masses.

  • The official Dyngus Day service, complete with the Easter "sprinkling rite," will be at St. Stanislaus in Slavic Village at 10am.

Stop by: DJ Kishka, long the face of Dyngus Day and Cleveland polka, will open the ceremonies in Gordon Square at 10am on the Gordon Green outdoor stage.

  • Adult tickets for the day are $12. VIP passes, which come with Dyngus Day merch and drink vouchers from Flight, are $85.

Go deeper: The history of Poles in Cleveland

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