Dyngus Day celebrations modified amid pandemic

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Dyngus Day-is a pretty big deal in South Bend. The holiday made popular by Poland and polish-Americans, and is marked every year with food, drinks, politics and parties. But coronavirus pandemichasn’t been a friend to many holidays and celebrations, and last year, many places known for their big parties had to cancel entirely. 

“It was hard making that decision. I know a lot of people wondered why I did it so soon but it’s because we didn’t know anything! I said we can’t take any risks. I don’t want to be known as a super-spreader,” West Side Democratic and Civic Center President Timothy Hudak said. 

However, this yearmany tried to get back into the Dyngus Day spirit! But how do you celebrate safely? 

“Until a greater portion of the community is vaccinated, I think still people need to exercise caution whenever they gather with other households indoors. So, a drive-thru event is a great alternative to that,” St. Joseph County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox said. 

And a drive-thru celebration is exactly what the West Side Democratic and Civic Center had up their sleeves for their 91st year! 

“People want to come and party, but it’s not right at this point,” Hudak said. “Today we’re doing a little different than we normally do because of the pandemic hit so we are doing our social distancing and using a drive-thru method, using the food, delivering the food to the people who drive through instead of having them coming in.” 

Of course, though, this isn’t how they normally would celebrate. 

“This would be packed but right now it’s a little eerie because there’s nobody here.” 

But that didn'stop folks from stopping by to get their Dyngus Day grub! 

“We usually, we used to hit every place in town, a lot of local bars but it’s all shut down now so it’s just what you can get,” South Bend resident John Austin said. “They got the best polish sausage in down and it’s a tradition we’ve been doing for years and years.” 

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