Mark your calendars: Dyngus Day is set for April 10 this year.
Never heard of it? Dyngus Day is one of The Bend's truly unique cultural celebrations. It's rich in history, tradition and a lot of fun. Let's get you up to speed on one of the most anticipated social events of the year.
Places to Celebrate on Dyngus Day
What can you expect on this most celebratory Monday?
Social clubs, restaurants and bars offer feasts of Polish sausage, noodles, potatoes, sweet and sour cabbage. Families and friends gather — starting at 7 a.m. in some places — to share a drink and play cards. By mid-morning, the polka bands have started. Music and dancing takes over.
Curious enough to get in on the action? Dyngus Day is set for Monday, April 10. Here are some places where you can join in on the festivities:
Crumstown Conservation Club
Location: 59440 Crumstown Highway, North Liberty
Time: Doors open at 7 a.m.
Details: Music begins at 9 a.m. with incredible Polish food. Admission is $10.
ZB Falcons Nest 80
Location: 323 S. Sheridan St., South Bend
Time: 11 a.m. to midnight
Details: Adults only with a $5 entry fee. Music planned throughout the night. Food includes a $8 Polish dinner, $4 sausage sandwich and more. Live music begins at 2 p.m. in the main hall.
Location: 55969 Tulip Rd., New Carlisle
Time: 3-8 p.m.
Details: Cash bar, homemade Polish food and music throughout the night.
American Legion Post 357
Location: 5414 W. Sample St.
Time: Doors open at noon.
Details: Band starts at 3 p.m.
American Legion Post 297
Location: 486 E. Michigan St., New Carlisle
Time: 4:30-7 p.m.
Details: Polish dinner for $15 including chicken, sausage, noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans and more.
Dyngus Day History
Dyngus Day originated in Poland as a celebration of the March equinox. Because of our area's Polish population, the event soared in popularity around South Bend during the 1950s as a way to celebrate the end of the Lenten season. Since then, Dyngus Day has blossomed daylong celebration of dancing, eating, drinking and, yes, some political campaigning.
Local politicians will be out to meet the public and from time to time this has included some high profile names. Bobby Kennedy campaigned in South Bend on Dyngus Day in 1968. The Clintons did so in 2008. Former mayor Pete Buttigieg was a regular on the Dyngus Day circuit.
But Dyngus Day isn't all about politics.
It's often said everyone celebrates St. Patrick's Day, even if they're not Irish. Same goes for Dyngus Day in our area. Everyone is Polish on Dyngus Day.