ST. FLORIAN’S 39TH ANNUAL STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL, MAY 5TH AND 6TH
Bagpipe music may not sound particularly Polish, but they are undeniably part of the tradition of St. Florian’s 39th Annual Strawberry Festival, held May 5th and 6th.
The firefighter’s parade and mass, which occurred Saturday afternoon, was accompanied by the Shriners bagpipe band playing strains of traditional Highland music, but once inside St. Florian’s, they played the striking beautiful ‘Amazing Grace.’
The Detroit Fire Department Band, a more traditional brass band, played ‘God of Our Fathers’ among other tunes.
The parade took the group from the fire station on Caniff, up Brombach Street to St. Florian’s on Holbrook. It’s always a good occasion to walk through the strikingly clean city of Hamtramck, where even the alleys are kept in excellent order. Hamtramck’s two fire engines, along with the ambulance, led the vehicles, while marching sharp discipline came the dedicated team of Hamtramck’s fire fighters, led by their white-gloved chief, James Szafarczyk. We highlighted a ‘day in the life’ of Szafarczyk in an earlier filming session.
Other Strawberry Festival attractions on Saturday included DJ music and polkas by the Kielbasa Kings, and in the evening, a chili-cook-off with area fire fighters. Food abounded, as could be expected in always-satisfying Hamtramck, and included all the classic Polish specialties. On Sunday, horse and carriage rides proved to be a wonderful addition to the festivities, enjoyed by young and old.
Throughout all, of course, strawberries, just now beginning to come to market, played a central role with pies, Belgian waffles, sundaes and of course, the phenomenal Polish pastries for which the city of Hamtramck is justifiably known.