‘Pierogi factory’ is heart and soul of Rockford’s Polish Fest

Every summer for nearly 40 years now, a core group of parishioners from St. Stanlislaus Kostka Church gather in the old school basement in southeast Rockford to begin the meticulous process of making thousands of pierogi from scratch.

They sit side-by-side at long tables, their gloved hands covered in flour as they beat dough, scoop fillings and press dumplings into crescent moon shapes. They catch up on family news, joke and laugh and occasionally blurt out a word or two in Polish — all the while their hands never stop.

These men and women and even some children grew up eating and then making pierogi with their moms and grandmothers. Many have been making them for Rockford’s annual Polish Fest for so long they barely need a recipe, just plenty of love.

Welcome to the “pierogi factory.”

The factory, so to speak, comes to life each year in the weeks leading up to Polish Fest, the church’s one-day festival, held this year on Aug. 14.

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